Mar 6th 2017 by L1quid • 34 Questions • 7423 Points
My short bio: I work with Amazon as an independent contractor to deliver what you want when you want - as long as it's from 6:00AM to midnight - from the Amazon Prime Now app or the website, including orders that you or someone you know might make from the Amazon Fresh website. I am based in Northern Virginia and have done all the routes throughout Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland and Washington D.C.
My Proof: Deleted One Proof
Thank you so much for making this site. I always check product price history before big purchases to make sure I'm not buying at a high point. Do you have any plans to expand to checking prices on other websites?
What happens if you accidentally damage the merchandise? You return for new stuff or notify the customer? You have to pay for damaged goods?
Thank you for using it!
We have no expansion plans at the moment. We used to have a handful of sites for other retailers, but they just didn't generate the same level of interest that Amazon did. Eventually we shut them down to let us focus on one site.
Expanding to other international Amazon sites might be in our future, however.
It happens quite often actually, and we don't need to pay what was damaged. Sometimes the packers will put 20 pounds worth of items in a brown bag and it will just break. When this happens, I call the customer and let them know that the bag is broken but the items are sill in good conditions, if I notice that an item has been damaged I will tell the customer and return it to the warehouse, if it's just the box of the item that broke, most often the customer won't care, but if they do, we just issue a refund. I also tell them that if the item is damaged because the box is closed and I can't open it, to call support and tell them, but before they call support, I already told them so they know whats going on.
Is there a reason you haven't plugged your Browser Addon anywhere? I'm not sure if you get the same revenue stream from it compared to the site, but it's helped me.
For all those people saying the site looks cool but will forget it, just get the Addon (called Camelizer for Firefox and Chrome) and click it any time you're on a product page! Shows you the history and allows you to setup notifications at the same time.
Thanks for this great service /u/L1quid.
Do you have commercial insurance? That 330 seems low for a commercial policy.
I figured plugging our site was enough spam for one AMA!
Thanks for using it. Glad to hear the Camelizer is working for you.
Amazon provides us with a $1 million Commercial Liability Insurance with all bells and whistles. If we do get in an accident, our deductible is $1,000.
that deductible is high for an hourly employee.
Sure, but that's typical of anyone who bases their business on someone else's platform.
Thing is that we are not employees. We are independent contractors. We don't get the benefits that employees get nor have taxes done on our behalf.
How have your interactions with Amazon been? I would think that they would prefer camelcamelcamel not exist?
Do you make enough if i only tip $1 or $2? I have struggling college student friend that wants to ask.
They allow us to be a member of their affiliate program, and we strictly abide by their rules. Beyond that, I couldn't really guess how they feel.
We make a minimum guaranteed. If the driver is using a 2007 Prius then he's making good money, but if the driver is using a BMW X5 to deliver packages, well maybe he might need the tip. Tip as much or as little as you feel like. The Amazon app will tell you the recommended amount depending on what you are ordering. If you are only ordering $20 worth of stuff I know it doesn't make sense to leave a $5.00 tip. So yeah you could leave $2. I also might add, we can't see who left tips or not.
First i just want to say I absolutely love your site. Simple, spamless, and wildly efficient at what it does. From my perspective, I think it would only hurt Amazon to block you. I have purchased MANY more large items on Amazon since I have started using your site to ensure I get good deals. Heck, I have 8 or 9 things that I am tracking and will buy immediately once they are reasonably priced. I have already used your site to buy things like super quality chef knives and an awesome Dremel. I would have never purchased them online without your site.
Keep up the good work. It would be interesting if in the future your site could also expand to some of the other major online merchants to price compare and track. For example, it would be great to know that on walmart or home depot's site my product was not currently priced cheaper.
I know that your example was to highlight the fact that a Prius will be achieving better gas mileage than an X5, but you literally could not have chosen a more backwards example to portray someone who is struggling and "might need the tip."
A Hummer could beat the X5.
Edit: And believe it or not, people do deliver in Suburbans, Ridgelines, Dodge Durango R/T, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Charger Hemi, BMW 5 series and 3 series, Mercedes E350 and other high end/gas guzzler cars.
Sometimes I get notifications that an expensive item has dropped substantially (ex: a $1200 laptop discounted to $500), when I go and check the price on Amazon the deal is gone.
Is this a strategy that resellers or Amazon use to get customers in? I figured you would know about the inner workings of the site and how it affect the data quality of your software.
Its bad optics to show up in a luxury suv and expect a tip. If they're driving an x5 they're doing very well for themselves.
Third party prices are really difficult, particularly for our users. Merchants often only have an inventory of ONE item, so if it is a great price and sells quickly, the listing disappears. That makes it difficult for even the most hard-working camels to monitor.
Combine that with unscrupulous merchants who post items and then get removed by Amazon, and you have a lot of offers that don't stick around for very long.
More often than not, the old adage holds: if it's too good to be true, it probably is. $700 off on a laptop? I'd be careful.
Yeah, and forget on getting tips if you arrive in a car that's nicer to the ones the customers drive.
I encountered some very strange third party sellers when using your site to track a smartphone for price drops last year. There were 2 or 3 accounts that appeared to be Chinese, and the only things they sold were high end electronics at huge discounts. The listings always disappeared quickly, and the accounts were many years old with just a couple 5-star reviews each, no activity since 2011 or 2012. It seemed too good to be true so I ignored them.
This AMA reminded me to check those accounts again. They are now filled with dozens of angry 1-star reviews from people who bought stuff over the holidays and never received their packages. Not sure if this was a very patient scammer who set up accounts in good standing years ago to rip people off way down the line, or if the accounts got hacked to take advantage of their good reviews.
Do you set your schedule like uber or do you have a set weekly schedule??
There has been a big problem with scammers lately. Hopefully Amazon wipes them all from their system soon.
We have what is called offers. Amazon sends out offers throughout the day and if you are available to work the shift that they are asking you, you just pick it up. When no offers are available it looks like this
When there are offers available it will show up like this
And you can accept or deline the offer if you want to work it or not, like this
Disclaimer: Some markets pay more than others, some pay less than others.
Edit: Messed up imgur pics, fixed.
OP, people can still see personal information from your route sheet. Can you please delete that?
Been using camelcamelcamel for years, always check before making big purchases.
Any plans to offer an API?
How many hours a week do you work?
Are your two employees local or remote (and do you have an office or work from home)?
Thanks for doing an AMA!
what are your typical package sizes?
Thank you for your continued support.
No plans to offer an API.
It depends on the week. The first 5ish months of every year seem to be my "let's see if I can burn myself out" phase. So right now I put in probably 6-8 hours every day of the week. Then summer is sort of a lull where I'm visiting family and enjoying the outside world, and fall has us busy again while preparing for the holiday shopping season. So, the answer is "sometimes a lot, sometimes a little."
Two of us used to work and live together, with a third being remote. Now, two of us live in the same city and my former roommate is remote, but we all work from home.
Regular size brown paper bags, like the ones that you used to get in supermarkets.
If the item doesn't fit inside the bag, like a 12 pack of soda pop, then it goes without a bag and I know what it is.
First, Thanks for doing this.
My question: What happened to PriceZombie and why have you been allowed to keep CamelCamelCamel alive? I read a lot of your responses and it seems you've been in contact with Amazon about CamelCamelCamel, and they don't seem to mind. Was there a lesson learned that is pushing CamelCamelCamel in a different direction or plain luck? Been thinking about this for about a year now, glad I have the opportunity to ask.
EDIT Here's a link to the post about PriceZombie shutting down to save anyone some time.
I work for Frito lay in Lorton just down the street and it's killing me. I'll PM you if I apply in case there is a referral bonus in it for you
My theory -- and that's all it is, obviously, as a third party -- is that PZ broke one of the cardinal rules: do not compare Amazon's prices with other retailers. This has been a huge no-no since day one for us, so we have never done that, and PZ was doing comparison shopping with tons of retailers on one site. We strictly abide by all of Amazon's affiliate rules to avoid meeting a similar fate.
There's no referral bonus for us drivers, but thanks tho.
Thanks for doing an AMA! I'm a vinyl junkie and swear by camelcamelcamel for notifications. Just wondering why you use that ASCII "THANK YOU" message when clicking-through your links? Not complaining, I love it! Just curious.
Why do you have trouble finding my address? Obviously I don't mean "you" but every time I get a confused call from my driver. I would think if any company had a good idea of where people live would be Amazon. Or was the company completely reliant on USPS for deliveries beforehand?
That page loads quickly and gets our message across, and those were the two goals.
I love vinyl, too! Got a bunch of The Verve's 180g re-releases as gifts recently.
Keep in mind, we probably don't live in the neighborhood that you are located in. The best advice I can give you is to leave notes on the notes section detailing how to get to your house and we will not contact you asking for directions.
Thanks for creating this site, I've saved so much from using the price drop alerts.
How long does it take for the site to realize there's a price drop and send the notification out?
How accurate is this video, in comparison to your job?
We aim for about 4 price checks per day for any product with at least one price watch. Ideally, this would be much more frequent, but we monitor so many products that we can't do hourly checks...
Spot on! Including using the container as a ramp to flip cars over while driving on the other side of the freeway.
Wait....Are packages like that not wrapped and discreet?
Limits placed on the number of API requests we can make, limits on server resources (less so than API requests.)
Not all of them. The ones with lower value are not, a PS4 isn't either, but requires someone to be present at the time of delivery.
So, you're the asshole who prevents me from buying stuff on Amazon because it was 30% less for 3 days last October...and just maaaaaaaaybe it will get down to that same price again?
How much do you have to lift to be an Amazon driver?
Terms and Conditions claims up to 50 pounds, that said, we might have orders that weigh at total of 200 pounds or even more, so we need to do several trips from the car to the house or apartment.
Is there an official app? If not is there one in development?
Are you based out of a fulfillment warehouse? I have one minutes away, just curious.
No app. We plan on making our site more mobile-friendly this year, but don't have any plans to release a native app.
Yes and no. Our warehouse is a fulfillment center but a very small one. If you order items that are not available in our warehouse but still show that you can get it on the same day, just not on the delivery window from 12PM-2PM that means that the item is in a warehouse near Richmond or Baltimore and will get to the out fulfillment center and be sorted to be delivered in the windows from 6-8PM; 8-10PM or 10-12mn.
Do you end up delivering to a bunch of noticelby drunk or high people? I feel like they're prime customers for not having to leave their home
I had a domain name with no site, and a site with no domain name.
And an extreme lack of foresight.
High, yes - Dude was SUPER excited that his Yahoo's had arrived.. Drunk, not that I remember.
This is lazy America at it's finest.
I'd really like a feature that allows me to export my list of tracked products. I essentially use your site as my Amazon wishlist and track hundreds of products, and i'd be really bummed if it ever disappeared. I currently have no way to back it up.
Also, every once in a while a message pops up that asks me to reprice hundreds of price alerts at once, which is something i never, ever want to do. I set my alerts at certain prices for a reason and every time that alert pops up im worried that i'll misclick and ruin my entire alert list. Please kill that message -- or at least make it much clearer what the buttons do. Currently they're labeled something like "okay" and "dismiss" which isn't entirely intuitive given the wording of the message. A way to turn that message off entirely would be very welcome.
And because this subs idiotic automoderator will delete this if i don't stick a literal question in here somewhere: Why is the sky blue?
How many "offers" do you get in any given day?
How do you imagine this backup being presented? A CSV of ASINs and desired prices? XML?
I would be interested to see what your desired prices look like, as that message should only appear if the system thinks they are too low to ever generate an alert. Good feedback! I have passed it along to the camelino in charge.
Few days ago there were 18 offers listed at the same time. 2-hour blocks, 3-hour blocks and 4-hour blocks.
Most were Washington D.C. Restaurants.
Most drivers in my market don't like doing Washington D.C. Restaurant deliveries, myself included.
from one of the pics you shared, it had "40-54 includes tips"... why the difference? and how often do you get paid?
In that case $40 is the minimum guaranteed for the 2-hour block ($20 an hour) that you are going to get paid and it can go to $54 with the tips included, sometimes it goes even higher depending on how many stops you did and how much tip the customers left.
I've been trying to sign up for it for a couple months now. The little application online always says they need it in Los Angeles. How long did it take until they contacted you? It seems like a pretty generic questionnaire. I drive a crv and have an iPhone. Is there discrepancies in those answers for getting hired?
We adopted them together. If only they had a third roommate at the ASPCA.
It might be that they have too many drivers for the amount of demand at this time, and I honestly would recommend using an Android, tho now a days Amazon doesn't care what phone you have. CR-V is a great car to do Prime Now.
I have only ever gotten a desired price alert like 1 out of 10 times... Am I just a cheap ass who puts the desired price too low ;)?
3 Parter Here...
How long have you been doing this?
What can you make in a year?
Do taxes generally make this not worth it?
A long time ago (don't want to say how long because it might incriminate me)
You can make I'd say up to $40k a year.
If you use a mileage tracker app, you can save quite a few bucks on taxes. I only paid $435.87 on the 2016 1099 for Amazon.
How easy would it be for Amazon to block you from doing what you do? How easy would it be to tweak it so it works again? I'm actually somewhat surprised they haven't tried to thwart you. Usually big companies don't like when stuff like this happens (i.e., harvesting data in anyway). I use your service on and off, so I support it (much like I do Brickseek), but any time I feel like something is good for the consumer (and especially if someone like you is indirectly profiting from it), then people get all litigious.
Is this at all something you worry about?
They are well aware of us, as we work "with" them through their affiliate program. They provide data via an API, rather than us "harvesting" it. So I think it's a pretty friendly relationship, such as it is.
Still waiting on that lunch invite with Jeff Bezos, though.
I ABSOLUTELY love you your site. Have you every considered developing an API (to automate accessing price histories)?
THANKS! We have no plans to publish an API.
I've noticed that historical price tracking does not display special discounts such as black Friday, cyber Monday etc., and the alert is not triggered when discounts happen due to these amazon in house promotions.
Is this something they have coded intentionally so it is invisible to camel? Could you explain why this would be the case?
Thanks for the great site!
I doubt Amazon considers us when making decisions. More likely is that they have separate systems for lightning deals / special prices and regular prices, and their affiliate API only ties into the latter.
Thanks for the AMA!
At which point did you decide that it was worth it to invest in your little test project? And what were your steps to get to the success you have today?
I'm asking because while i often have some nice ideas, i never go through with it. I have no idea how it would be profitable in the end.
When I started working on it, I had almost no expenses. I lived in a warehouse in Oakland and paid very little rent. I was just writing code because I loved it, and it was interesting; the projects I created were also useful to me, which I think is an important quality.
Make stuff you need, focus on solving a problem. If you have the luxury of doing so, ignore thinking about the money, as that often appears by itself if the project is useful to enough people. Just because you can't see the profitability now, doesn't mean it won't eventually be there, and you can turn away from a lot of potential projects if that is your main concern. That's an easy trap to fall in.
What was the first item that you wanted notifications for?
Product ID #1 in our database is The Beatles (The White Album).
The first item we ever sold was a book on creating diceless role playing games.
THANK you for saving me thousands over the years. How best can I support the amazing work you guys do?
If you use our site, you already do support us and we very much appreciate it.
Great product. Saved me tonnes of money. Thank you!!
How about scraping through a wishlist or shopping cart for items, and automatically creating pricewatches on all found items at a certain percentage off? I know that there is a "products on this page", but it's overly inclusive (I just want items in saved for later, or shopping cart or wishlist) and doesnt let me auto-create-watches.
After logging into your Camel account, go to http://camelcamelcamel.com/wishlists
Congratulations on your millionth user! I've been using the site for years (back when you did Best Buy and Newegg too) and wondering, any way to tell which number user I am?
Thanks for a great site, and keep on trackin'!
PM me and I can tell you.
Thanks for your site. I've used before, will use again.
My default when placing a purchase is to go to smile.amazon.com so they make a small donation to charity.
Would/does replacing the www with smile in the URL circumvent/replace your affiliate fee with the donation or do they coexist? If the latter, would you consider using smile instead of www?
If you have a Camel account, you can change your user settings to use Amazon Smile. Thanks for your support.