Gets Social Media, Too

Filed in Social Media by Matt McGee on June 3, 2009 9 Comments

I’ve called the SEO-smartest retailer on the web before, and it’s pretty obvious they get social media, too. Internet Retailer explains how Amazon has gone out of its way to make its product pages more friendly for sharing on Twitter and other social sites:

An customer is tweeting with his Twitter followers about his favorite TV show, HBO’s vampire series “True Blood.” The first season was just released on DVD and he wants to let everyone know it’s out. The URL for the product page for the Blu-ray DVD set is 117 characters. This would leave the customer only 23 characters for a message.

However, the customer can copy and paste the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) after a shortened version of the retailer’s main URL and use that to link tweeters to the “True Blood” DVD box set. The Amazon-abbreviated URL for this product would be: This leaves him 121 characters, not a mere 23, to chat about the creatures of the night.

Pretty smart, don’t you think? When I wrote 7 Traits of a Social Media-Friendly Web Site, No. 2 on that list was about making it easy for your fans/customers to share your content, to spread it around to their network. It’s an absolute must in this day and age.

I know small businesses don’t have the same resources as, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what they’re doing and find ways to apply it to what you do.

Comments (9)

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  1. Chris C Fox says:

    I don’t get this?

    How many customers know this?
    How many would be bothered to cut and paste in this manner?
    Aren’t there a whole host of services like that solve this problem much more easily and effectively?

  2. Matt McGee says:

    Think of it this way: If you’re on a product page at, you’ve got the ASIN number right in front of you. So, what’s easier:

    1) Taking that ASIN number and appending it to the end of, or

    2) Going to or tinyurl or whatever shortening site you prefer, and doing the cut and paste thing to make the short URL, then doing it again to get the shorter URL into your Twitter message.

    Seems to me #1 is easier, no? You never have to leave Amazon’s site to make the short URL, etc. Plus it’s better branding for Amazon if people see in a Twitter message and start to recognize that as an Amazon link.

  3. Chris Fox says:

    No, number 1 is not easier. What is easier is to use a bookmarklet to do it for you. The bookmarklet can do whatever you (or its developer want it to do). See for example the bookmarklet (or even better the Associates bookmarklet on my page at

    With that amount of power at the push of a button, who wants to go cutting and pasting.

    Now, I do take your point about the branding being stronger if you use your method.

    I’ve just done some checking, and do actually provide this level of integration (click on “share this” below “add to your wish list”) – at least for their main pages; I’ am not sure if they do it on their affiliate pages as I am not set up on However, (which I use), don’t appear to allow for this.

    So, I guess I’d agree with you that may getSocial Media, but appear not to.

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the bookmarklets – they really are a better way to work.

  4. Glen Allsopp says:

    Yeah, the first option is definitely easier, I think this is a good move on their part. Still a slight hassle, but nothing people would moan about.

    I can see a lot of other retailers wanting to adopt this method now.

  5. Mandy Bee says:

    I have to agree with Chris. If people are using and not some kind of desktop app to tweet, Amazon’s new shortened URLs are great. Most Twitter apps have built-in URL shorteners though, so it’s easier to just copy the whole URL from the browser and throw it in the app.

    If Amazon had these URLs right on the product pages to copy + paste from the site then I would rather use their shortened URLs vs another site’s.

  6. Jean-Paul says:

    Hi Matt,

    It is my first time to be on your blog.It is awesome!
    your post is very valuable for me and it is so nice to see that Amazon can be so creative with their marketing strategy

  7. Matt McGee says:

    Great conversation, thx gang.

    @Chris — I dare say the number of people who know what a bookmarklet is and actually use them is tiny. Certainly a small fraction of Amazon shoppers, less than 1%. I love bookmarklets and use them all the time, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking they have mass usage in a scenario like this. I doubt Amazon is doing this to appeal to power users who know what bookmarklets are. But the average Amazon shopper who wants to put a URL on Facebook or Twitter and say something about it, too? This is great for that person.

    @Mandy — the desktop clients do have built-in shorteners, but you still have to put the long URL on your Tweet before you post, don’t you? That leaves you with less room to say something about the link you’re sharing. (Or maybe there are clients that shorten the URL before you post? I don’t know of any, but would love to hear which ones do.)

    @Jean-Paul – thanks.

  8. Chris Fox says:

    Agreed – great conversation – thanks for sparking it off.
    I use Tweetdeck and quite a lot – both shorten the URL before you post.

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