Customers complain ("the deals aren't that great" ... "this is a fake holiday").
Trade journalists complain, or they praise ... either way, it doesn't matter, they're not commerce experts, they're experts at generating page views, and they'll generate page views today.
None of that stuff matters ... it doesn't matter what 1,000 loud social media-centric customers think, and it doesn't matter what 100 trade journalists think.
What matters is that, in an alleged era of one-to-one personalized, relevant, engaging communications, the company that personalizes every single home page is running an old-school, Nordstrom Anniversary Sale style promotion. Amazon is creating a reason for a customer to buy something at a time of year nobody wants to buy anything. It doesn't matter if the promotion works or not.
What matters is this. What are we doing to create demand? It cannot be 20% off plus free shipping - everybody does that. We all need to do something to create demand. This is what Amazon chose to do. What are the rest of us choosing to do?