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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3090 - June 19, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 5

Amazon Pays Facebook Users to Try Group Gift Feature

By Ina Steiner
June 19, 2013

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Amazon is bringing its gift cards to Facebook. Amazon Birthday Gift lets Facebook friends chip in and purchase a gift card that appears with birthday messages on the social networking site. Once a single friend starts a gift, any of the recipient's Facebook friends can contribute.

Here's how it works:

"Amazon Birthday Gift makes social gift giving easy by allowing a single friend to start a gift by adding a $1, $5, $10 or $25 Amazon.com Gift Card to a birthday message, which won't appear on the recipient's Facebook Timeline until his or her birthday. Once a gift is started, any other friends can join in by also contributing Amazon.com Gift Cards. As more friends participate, the recipient's Amazon Birthday Gift continues to grow. Then, on the recipient's birthday, the many individual birthday messages will appear on his or her Timeline along with links to claim the gift surprising the recipient with much more than just the traditional birthday messages, and letting the recipient get exactly what he or she wants from millions of items on Amazon."

Amazon is running a limited-time promotion in which it is giving a $3 Amazon.com credit for trying the feature. Using Amazon Birthday Gift requires users to connect their Amazon.com account with Facebook, which will likely pay off for Amazon in other ways, since users may then be more inclined to share Amazon items they purchase, wish for or review on their Facebook feed.

Amazon is actually late to the table when it comes to group-gifting services. In fact, eBay launched its GroupGifts.eBay.com portal in 2010, which allowed several people to pitch in, buy and pay for gifts using their social network and email contacts; participants could choose Buy It Now items on eBay and send funds for the gift to the organizer's PayPal account.

A year later, eBay acquired the Gifts Project, the Israeli software developer that powered the eBay Group Gifts feature. At the time eBay said the company would focus on "building social shopping platforms and product features for eBay Marketplaces."

More information about Amazon's new social-gifting feature is available at Amazon.com/birthdaygift.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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