If you were a lucky Amazon.com customer today, you may have seen something unusual when accessing the site: A feature story from The Wirecutter, a highly regarded product review site, called The Best Travel Gear For Your Next Journey — with a percentage of those items available right there on Amazon.
What’s up with that? Is Amazon now sponsoring independent editorial content directly on its portal? We caught up with Brian Lam, founder of The Wirecutter to get the 411.
Anyone familiar with The Wirecutter knows about its participation in Amazon’s affiliate program — and that most of the site’s revenue is derived from Amazon, as well as from other affiliates who pay The Wirecutter a commission for site referrals.
There is nothing special about the current publishing arrangement at all. According to Lam, it was all for the exposure — massive exposure in this case — and The Wirecutter got no special favors out of letting its story be published on Amazon’s site.
— Brian Lam (@blam) April 27, 2015
“We use the same affiliate program everyone else does, and received no compensation or gave no compensation for the use of the content,” Lam told TNW.
“All the benefits are mutual and pretty obvious. Amazon customers get help finding gear that has been editorially vetted, collected and curated by The Wirecutter. And as an independent publication, it also gets exposure to new readers who we can help in the future,” Lam said.
This totally makes sense. Interestingly, it was Amazon that approached The Wirecutter for copy to use, and collaborated with the tech publication on presenting a story that was already in the works. “We suggested the [editorial] idea and they liked it. Then we continued to develop it on our own,” Lam said.
Will we see more from The Wirecutter on Amazon in the near future? Hard to say, but for now this collaboration is considered experimental.
“Our only plans are to continue to build a place with our friends that continues to help our readers and do it better and better as time goes on. It’s so much fun, and at the same time, we take the responsibility of helping people spend their hard-earned dollars very seriously.”
For the record, we also contacted Amazon to get its take on the decision to run Wirecutter copy, but since their team didn’t respond — and Brian did — we decided to go with the story now and then follow up later in case Amazon had additional information.
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