"It's almost like going into a room and them putting a gun to your head and showing you your future," says an exec at ad giant GroupM about Amazon's (AMZN) ad sales approach. Another industry exec talking with Ad Age says Amazon's lack of a personal touch when courting Madison Ave. hurts its success.
After interviewing "a dozen people close to the companies," Ad Age suggests both Amazon and Apple (AAPL) are experiencing growing pains as they try to grow their ad ops. While advertising is largely a sideshow for Apple - Tim Cook has said iAd's main goal is to help developers make money - Amazon wants to use its oceans of data to mount a challenge to 800-lb. gorilla Google, as well as drive more e-commerce activity.
Nonetheless, Amazon has been cautious about sharing transactional data with ad agencies. One exec says Amazon hasn't agreed to a request to "divulge data about what's in shoppers' carts to inform ads." Another suggests the company could be more proactive in providing case studies.
Last year, eMarketer estimated Amazon had 2012 ad sales of $609M, and forecast 2013 sales of $835M.