Prime. Alexa. Pantry. Wardrobe. Fire TV. Fresh. Kindle…the list of Amazon products and services available goes on and on. In other words, anything your heart desires, Amazon’s got it. The way it caters to its consumers can only be done by knowing its audience thoroughly and they work hard at that.
That’s why this year its infamous Prime Day was used as a tool to ask prime members for their permission to be followed to other corners of the internet. Users were asked for access to their activity outside of Amazon websites and applications. In exchange shoppers scored a 10 dollar credit, personalized deals, and transaction alerts.
This feature is described on Amazon Help as “a free suite of software applications…to help you compare products and prices while searching and shopping online.” The extension tracks data including sites, search terminology, results, and according to Amazon, anything it deems “relevant” to report back, without personal identification required -compatibility depends on the user’s browser. Amazon wins by offering lower, competitive prices for the products you’re shopping for elsewhere and getting insight on you from your online habits and views.
The creation of Prime Day was a brilliant idea, on Bezos part that is, because the annual two-day shopping celebration has not only become more successful than Black Friday and Cyber Monday together, bringing in more traffic and revenue than any other shopping day in history, but it feeds the company endless amounts of information from a membership that continues to grow.
While a $10 credit came at a low cost to Amazon, it came at a potentially high cost to the consumer’s privacy. Having a digital presence comes with zero expectation of privacy and users are in danger of accepting terms without reading the fine print, which exposes them even more. The way large-scale companies are using technology to lure customers into allowing access by offering greater discounts and VIP features leads to the disregard of pivotal information they should be aware of. The promotion ended with Prime Day, but the extension is still available to download for those wanting to opt-out and can be disabled from your web browser.
Although the company promises limited and appropriate use of data, breaches, and misuse are still possible, difficult to contain, and sometimes impossible to undo. So the next time you are presented with a “great offer” take an extra five minutes to analyze how beneficial or how detrimental the offer can be. And always ask yourself how much is your privacy worth, is your privacy worth $10?
By Aura Altamiranda