Ring! It’s Amazon selling paranoia

How do you get people to buy video doorbells at a time when crime is extremely low in the United States? You scare them.

Amazon is currently looking to hire someone with the title “Managing Editor, News.” But it’s not for the entire Amazon empire—it’s for the small slice of it that makes security-focused doorbells, Ring. (Amazon bought Ring last year for more than $1 billion.)

Here’s the job description:

The Managing Editor, News will work on an exciting new opportunity within Ring to manage a team of news editors who deliver breaking crime news alerts to our neighbors. This position is best suited for a candidate with experience and passion for journalism, crime reporting, and people management. Having a knack for engaging storytelling that packs a punch and a strong nose for useful content are core skills that are essential to the success of this role. The candidate should be eager to join a dynamic, new media news team that is rapidly evolving and growing week by week.

The job requires at least five years’ experience “in breaking news, crime reporting, and/or editorial operations” and three years in management. Preferred traits include “deep and nuanced knowledge of American crime trends,” “strong news judgment that allows for quick decisions in a breaking news environment,” and experience using “social media channels to gather breaking news.”

There’s a lot of good discussion about Americans’ perceptions of crime in the article.

I grew up in an era when the crime rate in the U.S. was about three times what it is now, and people were less fearful then. The idea that Amazon thinks it’s fine to manipulate perception of fear to move products is disturbing, though not predictable. It’s the kind of marketing that leaves the communities Amazon is selling to worse off.

And the thing is… there are other ways to promote this product. I’ve considered one of these things. Mainly to keep an eye on packages on the porch, to be able to see if the knocker at the door is trying to get me to sign something or buy something vs. just being one of my neighbors, to know if I should be very quiet until the Jehovah’s Witnesses go away, and so on.

But the idea of being scared into it – ugh. Don’t knock on my door, Amazon.

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