Amazon wants its affiliates to be more social. Recently, it launched a Share on Twitter feature making it easy for affiliates to tweet affiliate links.
The push to make its affiliate program more social is no doubt based on the idea that social media and shopping have what it takes to form a long-lasting friendship. The logic: you'll trust a product recommendation from someone in your 'social graph' more than you'll trust an ad from some anonymous marketer. This isn't a new idea, but it is increasingly gaining traction.
Expanding on its effort to cash in on social media, Amazon has launched Amazon Associates for Blogger, which is designed to give bloggers on Google's popular blogging service the ability to easily add links to relevant Amazon products when they post.
Amazon Associates for Blogger has two integration points:
- A Product Finder that enables bloggers to highlight text in a post and get recommendations for Amazon products that would provide for a suitable link, and to easily insert such a link.
- Various sidebar 'gadgets' that promote and link to Amazon.
For Blogger bloggers who aren't already Amazon affiliates, signup functionality has been built into Blogger. Amazon is also encouraging affiliates who don't have Blogger accounts to sign up for one.
Obviously, this isn't entirely groundbreaking stuff, and there's never been anything stopping bloggers from adding affiliate links and promotions to their blogs. But what Amazon is clearly trying to do is make the process so simple that just about anybody can promote Amazon through social media channels.
That's certainly a good thing for Amazon, as it only pays for performance. But I'm not so sure it's a good thing for Blogger, or the internet as a whole. Blogger is already a haven for spam blogs, and encouraging individuals to sign up so that they can produce content with Amazon affiliate links probably isn't going to lead to quality content.
In my opinion, the relationship between retail and social media does have a lot of potential, and that means that the relationship between affiliate marketing and social media does too. For affiliate program operators that aren't 800 pound gorillas like Amazon, however, getting the most out of those relationships will probably require a targeted approach that relies more on quality than quantity.
Photo credit: Akira Ohgaki via Flickr.