Amazon is seeking social media celebrities.
The online shopping giant quietly launched a new program this week in which influencers with “large followings” can apply to host their own stores on its site in exchange for a commission on products sold.
TechCrunch first reported the news on Friday.
The program, currently in its beta testing stage, appears to be a more exclusive version of Amazon’s existing affiliating marketing service. The latter allows anyone to earn a cut of sales profits by posting product links in blogs or websites, launching customized stores and otherwise promoting goods on the site.
The new effort is limited to people whom Amazon judges to have sufficient follower counts, posting frequency and quality, and audience interactions.
It’s not clear whether the certified influencers will get a better commission than the ordinary affiliates.
Amazon didn’t respond to our request for comment.
Influencers will get their own vanity URL on Amazon’s domain, where they can choose items from Amazon’s inventory to spotlight.
For instance, the host of the YouTube channel “What’s up Moms,” one of the first enlistees in the new program, sells parenting and household goods on her page and plugs them in her videos.
The program has the potential to essentially provide personalized advertising for Amazon among people with some of the biggest megaphones on the internet. Because influencers are paid only in commission, it also sidesteps the clunky FTC-mandated promotional disclosures that usually bog down social media product promotions.
TechCrunch reports that only a “small group” of influencers have signed on so far, and Amazon is still testing the waters to determine whether to move forward with the program.
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