Amazon likes to stir shit up. Like wearing the same skirt as the hottest girl in school on the first day of classes to show everyone that Amazon wears it better. Most days, Amazon wages its little who-wears-it-better battles against competitors like Netflix, Barnes & Noble, and other e-commerce platforms. But today it’s declaring war on…Facebook?
Amazon unveiled its new Amazon Birthday Gift feature on Tuesday, which allows friends to join together to send an Amazon gift card to another friend via Facebook. “But doesn’t Facebook already have a gifting feature?” you ask. Yes, as a matter of fact, it does. So this puts Amazon Birthday Gift in direct competition with Facebook Gifts.
But Amazon’s name is virtually synonymous with shopping, so it could end up being more intuitive to users than Facebook’s gifting feature. That being said, Facebook’s gift options are right there in the birthday reminder, whereas users will have to connect to Amazon via Facebook to start using the Amazon Birthday Gift feature.
Maybe that’s why those who connect now and use Amazon Birthday Gift will get $3 in Amazon.com credit.
But the Amazon Birthday Gift has its own advantages, such as essentially pooling together gift cards. Essentially, one person gets it started with their own gift amount, and then other friends can join in and add to the amount along with their own birthday messages. The birthday boy or girl won’t get the messages or the gift card until his/her birthday, so you don’t have to do everything last minute.
“Birthdays have always been social occasions, and sites like Facebook now make it possible for anyone around the world to send birthday wishes to friends – with Amazon Birthday Gift, those many individual messages can become a big gift,” said Amazon’s VP of Traffic Steve Shure, in a statement.
Facebook Gifts was revealed in fall 2012 as one of Facebook’s new monetization efforts. While it was unveiled in September, it didn’t become available to users until December. CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned shareholders not to get ahead of themselves, though:
“While we remain excited about the long-term potential of commerce on Facebook, current revenue from user promoted posts and Gifts is very small, and we expect 2013 contributions from these initiatives to remain very small given current run rates," Zuckerberg said in Facebook's Q4 earnings call.
If Facebook is having trouble getting its Gifts feature going on its own platform, where does that leave Amazon?