Amazon’s new Spark social feed wants to be’ Instagram for products’

Amazon has introduced Amazon Spark, a very Instagram-like social shopping feed. Not all of the pictures and posts are tied to products but mostA are — and can be purchased on Amazon.

It resides within the Amazon app and there are many styles ways to describe it: a social network for shopping, a” shoppable feed ,” a shopping Q& A community, and so on. WeA can debate whether it’s more like Pinterest or Instagram( it describes “inspiration” from both ). TheA objective is pretty clearly to create social participation on the Amazon app that will lead directly to product purchases.

Upon ” signing up ,” usersA are asked to identify topics of interest from an extensive menu. The list extends beyond product categories to various lifestyle areas and interests( e.g ., travelling, art& design, humor, fitness ). Amazon recognizes that if this were only about pushingA products it wouldn’t be as appealing as a broader, interest-based network that also includes products in some larger context.

I haven’t spoken immediately to Amazon about this but my guess is that target user is female 20+ to 50 or so. BelowA is a collection of screens that illustrates the flow and user experience. From a distance it looks very much like Instagram. Not all images are tied to products; there are mamas and kids at the beach, people hiking and pictures of pets in addition to Amazon Echoes and waffle makers.

But where there is a product for sale inA an image( see above ), you’ll typicallyA find a yellow circle or bubble. Tapping that takes you to a product image and description and then to the Amazon product details page.A As contributors, usersA are inspired to” share something interesting” and invited to upload a Photo, Product, Link or Poll.

While it’s open to everyone — anyone can sign up and follow users, scroll through the feed and buy products — to post you have to belong to Prime.A Beyond this you must have spent $50 on Amazon to fully participate in the community. The threshold for full participation in Spark is thus spending at least $ 149 on Amazon 😛 TAGEND

To contribute to Customer Reviews or Customer Answers, Spark, post on Customer Discussion Forums, or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at the least $50 on use a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum. In addition, aimed at contributing to Spark you must also have a paid Prime subscription( free trials do no qualify ). You do not need to meet this requirement to read content posted by other contributors or post Customer Questions, make or modify Profile pages, Listings, or Registries.

While some may argue this is Amazon solving a” product discovery” problem for users, it’s really merely creating a new channels to help promote product sales — users don’t really have a major product discovery problem. One immediateA topic is whether product sellers can participate orA promote their products.

The short answer is no:” In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation( whether direct or indirect) is not allowed . . .” However, Amazon does permit those with” a financial interest” in a product or companyA to take part in Spark under limited circumstances with revealing 😛 TAGEND

You may post an answer to a question asked through the Questions and Answers feature( but not a question itself) considering products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, vendor, writer, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection( e.g .,” I represent the brand for this product .”). We automatically label some answers from vendors or producers, in which instance additional revealing is not necessary.

You may post content other than Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, dealer, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection( e.g .,” I was paid for this post .”). However , no brand or business may participate in the Community in a way( including by advertising, special offers, or any other ” call to action “) that diverts Amazon customers to another non-Amazon website, service, application, or channels for the purpose of conducting marketing or sales transactions…

This policy immediately opensA the door for “paid influencers” to participate in Spark, which they undoubtedly will( I’m already assuring “# sponsored” on posts ). If SparkA can develop enough usage I imagine itA will become an effective channel.

Overall, A Amazon has been fairly thoughtful about the Spark experience. But will people be willing to invest time in yet another network, in addition to Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter? The think fills me with fatigue.

Right now Spark is US and iPhone only.

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