Amazon taps into Facebook data for product recommendations

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Amazon has launched a new service which suggests purchases to users based on the preferences of their Facebook friends.

The Amazon Facebook Page service is now available in beta in the US.
 
The page encourages users to follow the herd by suggesting products that are popular with their friends. It even alerts users to friends' upcoming birthdays and makes gift suggestions based on what preferences they've listed on their profiles - the latest novel from a favourite author, for example. If friends have created an Amazon wish list, it taps into that too.

What it doesn't do is make gift recommendations based on what friends have already bought from Amazon - for some, this could be a touch embarrassing.

Nor does any other Amazon account information get shared with users' Facebook friends.

"Amazon will not share information from your account with Facebook. Amazon will not share your purchase history with Facebook. Amazon will not attempt to contact your Facebook friends. Amazon will never post anything to your Facebook Wall without your consent," the company promises.

The advantages for both companies are obvious. Amazon gets to snaffle up sales from people desperate to find something to buy for the man who already has everything.

In the past, it's capitalized well on its ability to make recommendations based on previous purchases, but has nothing to offer to compare with the social features offered by the likes of Swipely, for example.

Meanwhile Facebook gets oodles of data on purchase patterns and how recommendations lead to sales - vital information for attracting advertisers.