Amazon Bested Again in E-tail Rankings

Representing yet another setback for the Internet’s largest e-tailer, Forrester Research announced Wednesday that, formerly DVDExpress, has edged out for the title of top online movie seller. achieved a PowerRanking of 70.33 to finish just ahead of Amazon (69.56). Rounding out the top five were (62.71), (61.32) and CDNow (57.35). The ranking is an index of six different categories measured by Forrester. finished No. 1 in customer service, transaction efficiency and usability. Amazon finished on top in the delivery and features ratings, and ranked first in the cost department.

Earlier this month, passed Amazon as the top online bookseller in Forrester’s rankings.

Lost Dominance

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester follows consumer surveys with its own online shopping tests to compile its PowerRankings of major U.S. e-commerce sites. Approximately 20,000 consumers participated in the movie seller survey.

“In the spring, was ranked No. 2, but this time around it won by a slim margin,” Forrester senior analyst Tom Rhinelander said. “The win demonstrates that’s advantages over its strongest competitors are diminishing.”

The news of’s dominance over Amazon in the music category means that Amazon currently only holds the top ranking from Forrester in the Toys and Games and Music categories. Those rankings were last released in May and, according to Forrester, are due to be updated in the coming weeks.

No Perfect E-tailer

Although the survey found that Amazon offers the fastest shopping experience for repeat customers and multiple search options, Amazon got poor marks for its vague inventory information and hard-to-find customer service phone number.

Meanwhile, survey respondents reported that when calling’s customer service center, it took “at least a minute” to reach a customer service representative. Forrester also noted that’s registration process required consumers to spell out city names like “Saint Louis” for “St. Louis.” got poor marks for its “totally irrelevant ‘May we suggest…’ product lists displayed in shopping cart,” while and both got low marks for lacking efficient express checkout procedures, particularly for return customers.

As for CDNow, Forrester said the site is tailored toward music buyers and that “selling movies is an afterthought.”

Amazon’s Woes

Amazon has been saddled with a number of problems over the past few months, most notably a string of partner companies running into financial difficulties.

Amazon-backed companies and folded in August and November, respectively. Other Amazon-backed companies experiencing problems include, which laid off 30 percent of its workforce and announced a restructuring in September, and, which laid off 10 percent of its staff in October.

Amazon’s string of investment failures has not gone unnoticed by analysts. In October, Lehman Brothers strongly advised investors to “avoid” buying the company’s convertible bonds because of Amazon’s poor cash position.

However, analyst Mark Maheny of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter told the E-Commerce Times in October that Amazon “will be very clearly on a path for profitability” in the coming months.

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