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Wonder Workshops "dash" robot. Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP

Wonder Workshop, maker of the kid-friendly, programmable robots dot and dash, which were runaway hits two Christmases ago, is back with a new offering this year — and it tells the Wall Street Journal that it's going all-in on Amazon's Launchpad program in the hopes of making the 2017 holiday shopping season a success.

Why it matters: Toy manufacturers used to rely on their relationships with brick-and-mortar retailers — and the negotiated placement and display of their products on store shelves — to drive sales during the all-important holiday season. But Amazon's dominance of the growing share of online sales has made adopting an Amazon-first strategy a no brainer for many toymakers.

Wonder Workshop is a participant in Amazon's Launchpad program, a section of the site it devotes to unproven products made by startups.

  • 2100 startups participate, and are given special promotion on Amazon's website, dedicated company pages and inclusion on Amazon gift lists.
  • This enables companies like Wonder Workshop to scale up faster than similar manufacturers could have dreamed of in the past, but it also makes these companies particularly reliant on Amazon as a distributor.

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.