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Amazon buys wacky retailer

Woot the fook?

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Etail monster Amazon has bought Woot.com - the community and wacky one-a-day gadget website.

In the words of its own blog: "Woot to be acquired by Amazon, then left to amuse ourselves." The company will operate as an independent subsidiary of Amazon and remain in its Texas HQ.

The company, which hopes in its FAQs to hit profitability sometime around 2043, began life as a market testing offshoot of an electronics distie. It typically sells one gadget a day - today's is a discounted Amazon Kindle, spookily enough. Yesterday Woot was selling iPod Nanos.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though chief exec Matt Rutledge did say there would be six muffins in the break room courtesy of the nice folks at Amazon. Techcrunch put the figure at $110m.

In an email to staff Rutledge said he planned to continue to run Woot as he always had done - with a wall of ideas and a dartboard.

He said: "From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture."

Rutledge reassured staff that there was little chance of company culture leaping forward and becoming cutting-edge. He said the company's business model was so vague that "there's no way Amazon can possibly change what it is we're truly doing: preparing the way for the rise of the Lava Men in 2012".

There's more on Woot's blog including a message from some singing simians. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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