Are You Sure?
Amazon's 'Project Iliad' tries to make Prime unbearably hard to cancel
The decline in cancellations after Iliad's rollout in 2017.
When all is said and done, perhaps Homer’s The Iliad and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon will prove oddly complementary bookends to Western civilization — sprawling, revolutionary creations that helped kickstart literary culture (the former) and hasten its demise (the latter). Amazon certainly seems to have drawn inspiration from the epic poem in at least one depressing way: According to Business Insider’s recent look at internal documents, the company rolled out something called “Project Iliad” back in 2017 specifically designed to increase the amount of steps it takes to actually cancel your Prime subscription.
Presumably, the name is in reference to The Iliad’s imposing length that has been responsible for countless readers quitting before they finish the tome. “After the project's launch, the number of Prime cancellations dropped by 14% at one point in 2017 as fewer members navigated to the final cancellation page,” explained Insider.
Real cute, Amazon. That’s certainly one way to try getting people to finally watch Carnival Row.
It’s still a thing — Anyone who has attempted to shut down their Prime account recently can attest to the fact that a version of Project Iliad is still very much a thing. As Insider pointed out in its own write up, there are no less than three separate pages consumers have to navigate before officially cancelling their subscriptions. Amid those text-heavy hurdles are various advertisements, offers, and economic incentives to entice (or annoy) people into changing their minds.
I can personally attest to getting fed up with the process at least a couple times in the past, delaying my eventual account shutdown by God-only-knows how many months, which is exactly what Amazon banks on with this scheme. Even if they simply delay the inevitable, it still extracts that much more money from my pockets.
To those who attempt to rid themselves of their Prime Memberships in the near future, remember the words of The Iliad: “Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this.”