You Can Buy Amazon Stuff on Twitter Now. How is this a good thing?

Monday, May 05, 2014 - 10:26 AM

A customer tries out the Apple iPhone 5 inside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty)

Twitter has been kept afloat for years on the promise that it will be a great way for advertisers to market to consumers. Unfortunately for Twitter, marketers are still only lukewarm on the platform, and is still trying to figure out how to monetize its userbase. Amazon thinks its found the key by turning your tweets into one part advertisement, one part buy-it-now button.

Today, Twitter announced #AmazonCart. If you see a tweet with an amazon link in it, you can reply to the tweet with the hashtag #AmazonCart, and it will automatically appear in your Amazon cart. But don't take my word for it, watch this exciting advertisement featuring a cool youngster in a scally cap at a coffee shop purchasing items!

This is like a two-pronged victory of Amazon. First, it encourages people to tweet more links to Amazon, which will, in turn, inspire people to tweet #AmazonCart all over the place. If it picks up enough momentum that it reaches Twitter's top hashtags, it could become a self-perpetuating advertising success.

So Amazon might have figured out how to advertise properly on Twitter, but it comes at the cost of a bunch of garbage tweets with no information in them and the potential for a bunch of new spam accounts that are constantly tweeting Amazon links in the hopes that people will be inspired to automatically add to their carts. And strangely, even though this must have been coordinated with Twitter because it uses their open API, an Amazon spokesperson says that Twitter does not receive any money on items bought using the process. So how does Twitter benefit? The spokesperson declined to comment. 

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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