April 15, 2014

Swedish designer rejects Amazon’s offer for amazon.se domain name


©Petter Wemmert. Via Shuttertock

©Petter Wemmert. Via Shuttertock

Amazon is hoping to extend its business into Scandinavia, but has hit a roadblock in Sweden, per a report from The Local, which reports news from various European countries in English. While the online bookseller has gained a foothold in countries around the world by securing domains in Canada, the UK, France, Australia, China, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Spain, it’s been stymied in its attempts to obtain amazon.se in Sweden.

The Local reports (via Internet World magazine, in Swedish) that the current owner of the highly coveted domain is a 57-year-old woman in Stockholm, a designer for the small advertising firm Amazon AB. The locally based agency snatched up amazon.se back in 1997, and has turned down multiple offers from the e-commerce giant to buy it.

Amazon has made inroads in other ways, recently reaching a deal with Bokrondellen—which Nate Hoffeider of The Digital Reader describes as “the central book database for the Swedish bookselling industry”—that allows them to sell books in Sweden. Bokrondellen CEO Christer Perslöv said of the agreement, “Now Amazon can sell Swedish books on all their sites. If they want to make it in the USA, Germany, England—or if they want to start a Swedish site—it’s up to them. Obviously they haven’t shared their plans with us.”

It doesn’t seem that the current owner of amazon.se has made any public comment about why she has turned down the offers Amazon has made for control of the domain. The Local states that “At present the amazon.se website is a landing page that is deemed to be ‘under development,'” so it’s unlikely that Amazon AB intends to use the site for its own business, considering they’ve had seventeen years to do so. Maybe the unnamed designer is holding out for a truly gigantic offer, or maybe she’s simply enjoying lording a bit of power over the huge company, relishing the ability to—at least for the moment—keep them out of a whole country. For now, Swedish readers who want to purchase a book through Amazon have to do so through one of their other sites.


Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.