It was much easier to talk the talk
walk the walk with Netflix because you had factors other than valuation -- such as incompetent management and tons of competent competition -- driving the core of the short case.
I personally know several folks who were short NFLX as it moved on air to $300. Some hedged. A few panicked. A couple couldn't take it and covered, but, by and large, these cats stood pat or added to the position. They became more bearish, more certain of their conviction the higher NFLX went. You can say the same about the AMZN bear's sentiment, however -- and this is key -- you can't say they're locked into short positions.
I don't think the folks doing the mouthing off are short. I bet plenty of those short shares are held by big money folks who are net long AMZN.
Maybe the vocal AMZN bear chorus buys put options.
However, given the way the stock has moved -- up 7.7% over the last month, flat the last three months, up 17% the last six months, up 40% year-to-date, up 28% over the last 365 days and up 42% over the last two years -- they better have puts without expiration dates. Or maybe alongside their suspended, and, in some cases, 13-year old opinions of Amazon, the concept of time decay ceases to be a factor in their fantasyland options trades.
Unless you're a really nimble trader, shorting AMZN stock is a bit like keeping a credit card balance. You dig yourself deeper into trouble the longer you let your balance run without paying it off (covering) and that (margin) interest just eats away at what little material value or potential that balance could hope to hold.
Unless you're an insider
you know something the rest of us don't, I would not take this as a challenge to get short. In fact, I intend it as the opposite. For your own safety and the safety of those around you, do not short AMZN.
Record mobile and online sales over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend should send a signal that stops you in your tracks if you're thinking of putting on an AMZN short. While consumers might not be making many holiday purchases on Kindles, they're likely spending plenty of time with the Amazon shopping app and mobile Web site on their iPads.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.