Talking tech since 2003

Today, Amazon announced a new partnership with Twitter, allowing users to add items to their Amazon shopping carts by simply replying to certain tweets with the self-explanatory hashtag, #AmazonCart. It’s a new way to buy stuff, and it’s no surprise that it’s come from that hotbed of online retail innovation, Amazon.

According to the retailer’s announcement page, the #AmazonCart hashtag only adds products to your account’s cart—the purchase still has to be made by you within your account on Amazon’s page. But adding products is ridiculously easy. If you see someone link to an Amazon product on Twitter, all you need to do is reply with the hashtag—after you’ve linked your Amazon and Twitter accounts, that is.

A post on CNET about the new partnership cites an Amazon spokesperson, who says that Twitter does not actually receive any money through the use of the hashtag. It wouldn’t have been too farfetched to imagine that Twitter could earn a few pennies for each item added and purchased through its social network. But now that we know it’s not the case, that leaves one other major benefit for Twitter to participate in this program: data.
Free social networks are, of course, free in terms of not charging users money to use them. But we pay for these services by providing networks with reams of personal data that we give up voluntarily. And since a huge chunk of our shopping is done online, and since a huge chunk of that shopping happens on Amazon, it stands to reason that linking our Twitter accounts with our Amazon accounts will give both companies access to even more data.

Twitter gets to learn about our buying habits. That data can then be used for targeted ads in our feeds, or more. Amazon learns about who we follow, what we reply to, how often we Tweet, and all the rest. Then they can offer more targeted advertisements that fit our lifestyles, maybe make better recommendations for products that we’ll be more likely to buy without thinking.

Personally, I don’t need more ways to make terrible impulse buying decisions, so I will be leaving my Amazon and Twitter accounts decidedly unlinked. But that’s just me: do you like the idea of Tweeting the contents of your #AmazonCart?

[Sources: Amazon, CNET]


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