Amazon Offers 'Social Shopping' to Facebook Members

17 March 2008

SEATTLE, Washington: It's taken some eighty-five years to fulfil novelist Aldous Huxley's vision of the future – Brave New World – in which planet Earth's proletariat is bred for a sole purpose. To consume.

Midwife to Huxley's chimera is, which has just launched applications aimed at enticing millions more surfers into online retail nirvana.

Two new applications, Amazon Giver and Amazon Grapevine, now integrate Amazon's shopping 'wish lists' and product reviews into Facebook's social networking pages.

Facebookistas who add the 'Giver' application to their online profile can then view other users' Amazon wish lists via which they can link to and make a purchase from Amazon's site.

The system also dangles the etailer's product recommendations, basing these on the preferences and interests listed by another person on their own Facebook profile – thereby extending the putative 'artificial intelligence' techniques used by Amazon to generate customer recommendations on its own site.

From its earliest days Amazon has trailblazed 'social shopping' trends, harnessing user reviews and wish lists on its own site, as well as tagging pages visited by individual users to create a personal portfolio of interests.

Ahead of the herd, as usual, Jeff Besoz's global neighbourhood store has not only fulfilled Huxley's prediction but also heeded the advice of Donna Hoffman, a director of the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at the University of California.

At a seminar late last year, Hoffman declared that  online retailers must be ready to migrate from their current search-engine optimisation to the development of so-called 'Web 3.0' techniques.

“Social shopping sites," she said, "have the potential to make online shopping much more engaging. Consumers are spending much more time on these sites."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff