However invasive you think Amazon is, it’s so much worse. Not only is the e-comm Kaiju meticulously tracking our every movement for their own benefit, they’re now actively selling that data to other companies, according to the New York Times — effectively creating one of the most targeted ad networks on the planet.
Physical therapy centers, financial services providers, apparel companies, and major credit card companies all are using Amazon’s advertising services these days, the Times said, “which leverage what the company knows better than anyone: consumers’ online buying habits.”
“In addition to knowing what people buy,” the Times writes, “Amazon also knows where people live, because they provide delivery addresses, and which credit cards they use. It knows how old their children are from their baby registries, and who has a cold, right now, from cough syrup ordered for two-hour delivery.”
Basically, Amazon knows us about as well as we know ourselves. And now, that knowledge is available to bidders across the advertising spectrum.
It’s like a homing missile for Shit We Want, and it’s working. In one particularly jarring instance, Amazon data was used to run ads that resulted in an absolutely preposterous 20 percent conversion rate — “22,000 clicks and more than 4,000 orders” — for (this is real) dried cheese bars.
“Many of Amazon’s features are similar to those of Google or Facebook,” the story noted, but “Amazon’s ad system can also remove a lot of the guesswork by showing ads to people who have bought [the advertisers product] on Amazon.com.”
“Early tests are showing this is insanely powerful,” one analyst said. “They can do this and nobody else can come close.” Amazon is basically Big Brother with a checkout portal.
You can read more about it at The New York Times.