Amazon shuts down its cable store, probably because ISPs are awful

Remember that time when Amazon decided it wanted to sell you internet service and cable TV? Well, that’s done now. Yep, Amazon’s “Cable Store” is no more.

As you may recall, around a year ago, the online retailer launched a “cable store” website where it began reselling a variety of Comcast’s services, including its internet, TV and phone bundles. The move seemed a bit odd, but perhaps fit in with Amazon’s goal of being the online site for anything consumers want to buy.

That store was later expanded in November 2016, when Amazon added Frontier to the list of service providers you could shop on its site.

The site itself offered a way to view and compare the providers’ most popular plans, as well as product detail pages for each of their offerings. However, instead of an “Add to Cart” or 1-click checkout button, the store directed consumers to click a “Proceed to Service Setup” button to begin the ordering process.

Users could also review the services on Amazon’s site, like any other product.

However, no other service providers were ever added to the cable store, even though Charter was said to have been in discussions with Amazon about its inclusion. Cox had also seemed excited about the possibilities, saying they remained “open to explore new relationships and platforms,” when asked if they would join.

The store was a good deal for the service providers, as it meant more exposure to online shoppers, and potentially more sales. Meanwhile, Amazon would take a referral fee for the sign-ups originating on its site. This fee was undisclosed, but The WSJ had said it was likely in the same range as Amazon offers other third parties: from single-digit percentages to 15 percent, or more.

In addition, Amazon had the opportunity to cross-sell cable TV service on its site along with its other products. For example, someone shopping for a TV could be recommended Comcast’s cable service.

But as it turns out, Amazon is no longer interested in connecting consumers with an ISP or cable provider.

TVPredictions, which first spotted the store’s launch, has now spotted its closure.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the store had been shut down. No real explanation was offered beyond the following: “Amazon is constantly testing and launching new offerings to innovate on behalf of customers,” a spokesperson said.

One theory on why the store was killed comes from DSLReports, however. They speculate that the numerous consumer complaints and one-star reviews for the ISPs could have turned Amazon off from wanting to associate its brand with the notoriously consumer-unfriendly cable TV and internet service providers.

“If I could give it zero stars I would,” one reviewer had said.

Consumers were complaining on Amazon about things like Comcast’s usage caps, overage fees, and Amazon’s failure to disclose the usage caps existed, for example. Others complained about an ISP’s regional monopoly.

In any event, you’ll have to shop for your next cable provider elsewhere, it seems. At least until you can get internet by drone, balloon or 5G.