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Amazon Takes Fresh Stab at $16 Billion Housekeeping Industry

  • Web store defies low-cost contractor model by hiring cleaners
  • Seattle trial offers spruce-ups by Amazon employees for $156
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How Jeff Bezos Became the King of E-Commerce

Three years ago, Amazon.com Inc. launched a marketplace to connect its customers with handymen, landscapers and housekeepers in their neighborhoods, a direct challenge to the likes of Angie’s List Inc. and Yelp Inc.

The offering embraced the independent contractor model, using Amazon’s web store to create a new service from scratch without hiring a single person or buying any lawnmowers, hammers or mops. Instead, it connected contractors using their own vehicles, tools and supplies with new business customers, taking a cut of each job. That same model let Uber Technologies Inc. disrupt the taxi industry without buying cars or hiring drivers.