Amazon Confirms Tote's Demise, But Doesn't Say Why is shutting down an experimental delivery service just a couple months after it was expected to expand the trial beyond a handful of Seattle neighborhoods.

A spokesperson told us today that Amazon Tote launched in the Seattle area in July 2010 as a new experimental customer delivery option and confirmed “This pilot program will no longer take orders as of 6 p.m., Thursday, March 3.”

The Tote service offered a free weekly delivery on a specified day. The perk was that it didn’t require a minimum-order size and you got to keep the reusable totes, however, the delivery day could not be changed.

It was a hybrid between Amazon’s Prime service, which offers free two-day shipping with an annual fee, and the company’s Amazon Fresh grocery service, which delivers food and some regular items directly to some houses in Seattle, also for a fee. Customers of Tote will continue to have those two options.

The discontinuation of the service appears to be a reversal for the Seattle-based company, which said in January that the program “will be expanding soon.” The Financial Times reported separately that the e-commerce company was headed for a national roll-out.

The spokesperson did not return requests for comment as to why the service was shutting down.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work