Amazon Turns to Twitter to Boost Affiliate Marketing. Is it Spam?

by Pam Dyer

Amazon Turns to Twitter to Boost Affiliate Marketing. Is it Spam?

The U.S.’s dominant e-tailer is trying to do something that even Twitter hasn’t figured out how to do: Make money on Twitter.

Last week, Amazon contacted members of the Amazon Associates program to announce a new feature: Integration with Twitter. When Associates log into their accounts, they now see a “Share on Twitter” button on their Site Stripe (a  toolbar at the top of the page). Clicking the button creates a tweet that includes a  shortened URL to send out of all of their followers. The monetization angle is that the shortened link includes the associate’s Amazon referral code, enabling the Associate to earn as much as 15% from any resulting sales.

amazon-twitter

Twitter users love to click on links, so this feature could boost the earnings of popular Tweeters with large lists of active followers.

The tweet text can be posted as-is or edited. If the tweet is edited, there really is no way to tell that the Twitter status update is an actual ad.

Here’s something to think about in light of the FTC’s recent efforts to crack down on sponsored blog endorsements: Many blogs (not all) disclose that they will earn money when they offer you a referral link. Even if they want to, this will be difficult for Associates to do on Twitter because of its 140-character limit. Will the folks at the FTC attempt to track the hidden advertising explosion-in-the-making on Twitter?

Before editing:

unedited-tweet

After editing:

edited-tweet

Is it spam or hidden advertising or both?

It’s product placement, Internet-style. Subliminal advertising is rampant on TV (Don Draper in his London Fog coat on Mad Men, anyone?), and now it’s going to show up in Twitter streams.

As to the spam characterization, it’s easy to stop following someone who goes too “commercial” for your taste. But if you follow a lot of people, you might have to wade through a high volume of self-serving, deceptive tweets about any of the millions of products available on Amazon. And the commercial tweets will be difficult to differentiate from the usual flow of status updates on Twitter — you might not be sure until you click on the link — and you may not know definitively if it was really an ad or if the poster was trying to be helpful and point out something interesting.

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  • http://twitter.com/adamloving/status/5575287951 Adam Loving

    Amazon generates affiliate links for easy sharing on twitter http://bit.ly/37in5 /via @pamdyer

  • http://twitter.com/npost/status/5575498571 Nathan Kaiser

    Amazon generates affiliate links for easy sharing on twitter http://bit.ly/37in5 /via @pamdyer /via @adamloving Easy to hide paid ads?

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  • http://socialmediarealitycheck.com/ Mark McLaren@Social Media Real

    Hi Pam!
    Nice catch. This is very interesting stuff. The key seems to be that the affiliate nature of the link is – more or less – hidden. But maybe you could argue that whenever you click a link that takes you to Amazon, it’s either 1. an affiliate link or 2. the person who created the link is just not tech-savvy/self-serving enough to make it so.

    This has got to be the future. As long as people are going to link to things, they might as well get a cut. The sooner someone figures out how to monetize links across the board, the better, right?

    The question of compensation doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the tweet itself; it could be part of a statement on the landing page.

  • http://socialmediarealitycheck.com Mark McLaren@Social Media Reality Check

    Hi Pam!
    Nice catch. This is very interesting stuff. The key seems to be that the affiliate nature of the link is – more or less – hidden. But maybe you could argue that whenever you click a link that takes you to Amazon, it’s either 1. an affiliate link or 2. the person who created the link is just not tech-savvy/self-serving enough to make it so.

    This has got to be the future. As long as people are going to link to things, they might as well get a cut. The sooner someone figures out how to monetize links across the board, the better, right?

    The question of compensation doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the tweet itself; it could be part of a statement on the landing page.

  • Pam Miller

    Maybe I’m missing something but doesn’t it matter as to the level of sponsored tweets. Check out comp.ly to determine if it falls within their range.

  • Pam Miller

    Maybe I’m missing something but doesn’t it matter as to the level of sponsored tweets. Check out comp.ly to determine if it falls within their range.

  • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear Pam

    This is an interesting article. I am not sure if it is spam or not. But I surely would not like the people whom I follow to tweet me these links all-the-time.

    This indicates again that it is not the technology that matters but how we use it. So if Amazon Affiliates use this tool and their Twitter followers don’t unfollow it will be a success for Amazon that is.

    I think because of the greed of some people, it will work for Amazon because its affiliates will use the Share on Twitter button

    Urs @ComMetrics
    register at http://My.ComMetrics.com => track and compare your blog’s performance

  • http://howto.commetrics.com/articles/best-blogs/ Urs E. Gattiker@ ComMetrics

    Dear Pam

    This is an interesting article. I am not sure if it is spam or not. But I surely would not like the people whom I follow to tweet me these links all-the-time.

    This indicates again that it is not the technology that matters but how we use it. So if Amazon Affiliates use this tool and their Twitter followers don’t unfollow it will be a success for Amazon that is.

    I think because of the greed of some people, it will work for Amazon because its affiliates will use the Share on Twitter button

    Urs @ComMetrics
    register at http://My.ComMetrics.com => track and compare your blog’s performance

  • Pingback: commetrics (ComMetrics)

  • Pingback: ComMetrics (ComMetrics)

  • http://twitter.com/commetrics/status/5583631316 ComMetrics

    via @pamdyer => Amazon Turns to Twitter to Boost Affiliate Marketing. Is it Spam? http://bit.ly/3Hsk5E #things2read #trends2watch

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  • http://mybestcheckingaccount.com/2009/10/second-chance-checking-accounts/ Jack@open checking

    just like my favorite saying goes, “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.”

  • http://mybestcheckingaccount.com/2009/10/second-chance-checking-accounts/ Jack@open checking

    just like my favorite saying goes, “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.”

  • http://instepbiketrailer.net/ Ethan@Instep Bike Trailer

    I missed this valuable update. I haven’t check my twitter account quite long. I’ll check now to find any benefit I can get from this integration.
    .-= ´s last blog ..InStep Bike Trailer: A Pound for Pound Winner =-.

  • http://instepbiketrailer.net Ethan@Instep Bike Trailer

    I missed this valuable update. I haven’t check my twitter account quite long. I’ll check now to find any benefit I can get from this integration.
    .-= ´s last blog ..InStep Bike Trailer: A Pound for Pound Winner =-.

  • http://blacktwitters.com/ sam@celebrities twitter

    Good to read .Twitter users love to click on links, so this feature could boost the earnings of popular Tweeters with large lists of active followers.

  • http://blacktwitters.com/ sam@celebrities twitter

    Good to read .Twitter users love to click on links, so this feature could boost the earnings of popular Tweeters with large lists of active followers.

  • http://atniz.com/ Atniz@Work At Home

    Everyone is starting to make use of Twitter especially affiliate marketers. It is the whole new platform to get free leads and sales. I guess not only Amazon realizes it, Dell, HP, and other giant companies starts to monetize from their Twitter account.

  • http://atniz.com Atniz@Work At Home

    Everyone is starting to make use of Twitter especially affiliate marketers. It is the whole new platform to get free leads and sales. I guess not only Amazon realizes it, Dell, HP, and other giant companies starts to monetize from their Twitter account.

  • http://humanrace.com/ jim@human race

    Good to read and twitter is really beneficial for getting traffic and to promote your business.thanks for sharing!

  • http://humanrace.com/ jim@human race

    Good to read and twitter is really beneficial for getting traffic and to promote your business.thanks for sharing!

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