Amazon brings Associates initiative to mobile apps

Amazon has this week made its firmest commitment yet to mCommerce with the launch of Mobile Associates API for Kindle Fire and other Android devices, which will enable app developers to make money from their own apps and games by promoting the e-tailer's products and services.

The initiative is an extension of the Amazon Associates scheme where companies can place unique URLs into their website text to take visitors through to Amazon products.

Developers using the new API will be able to earn up to 6% on certain in-app customer purchases. Until this latest initiative, developers wanting to create additional revenue channels for their apps could use a "freemium" model with digital in-app purchasing or subscriptions, or by using mobile ads.

The difference now is that developers have a new way to monetise their apps and games by offering contextually relevant Amazon goods on these platforms. The API can be used in the Amazon Appstore and in Google Play.

Reflecting on how the new tool can work, Mike George, vice president of Amazon Appstore, Games and Cloud Drive, said: "Imagine a developer of a nutrition and fitness app can now offer their customers the ability to purchase vitamins, supplements and fitness gear within the app, directly from It offers the customer a more relevant experience and provides the developer with a new source of revenue."

Micke Paqvalén, CEO and founder of global content monetisation company Kiosked, said the Mobile Associates initiative has the potential to be successful, but he warned that Amazon must make sure it works closely with developers "to offer a smooth and non-intrusive shopping service".

"An item is now purchased every second via a smartphone or tablet, so it's wise that Amazon is tapping into the huge opportunities that mCommerce provides with the announcement of developer partnerships," he explained.

"However, to entice consumers to buy, the advertising offered across these platforms needs to be useful, relevant and contextual. App developers should certainly not compromise the experience they offer and consumers are much more likely to make a purchase if the product is fully integrated into the service, and more importantly, appeals to their impulse. Wherever there is impulse, there can be a shop."