Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Now out of beta, Amazon launched a new social feature in the U.S. yesterday that is designed to return social activity surrounding products back to the Amazon site while hopefully improving product discovery for its users. Similar to the approach of Instagram’s shoppable photos, Amazon Spark allows users to post images, new ideas and related posts regarding products they find interesting. To foster social interaction, other users can respond with their own comments and “smiles” — Amazon’s take on “favorite” and “like” buttons.

“Amazon Spark could be seen as something of a Pinterest competitor as well, but the actual format for the service is a feed-style interface — which is why the comparison with Instagram seems more apt,” suggests TechCrunch.

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Interested consumers can join Amazon Spark via the “Programs & Features” menu option of Amazon’s iOS app (there is no desktop support yet). By selecting areas of interest, “Amazon Spark will create a customized feed of products, imagery and ideas.”

“The one catch to Spark is that you must be a Prime member to post images to the social network,” notes Ars Technica, “but any Amazon user can browse the Spark feed.”

The image-focused feed of product ideas and stories will feature a varied array of content including reviews and recommendations. Images of products available via Amazon.com will feature a shopping bag icon, since the ultimate goal of the increased social activity is to encourage online shopping.

“In addition to lifestyle imagery, Spark posts can also contain product photos, text, links or polls,” notes TechCrunch. “The ability to shop the photos on Amazon’s site is a much more seamless experience than on Instagram, where often the fashion labels’ Instagram handles are tagged in the photos, but you’re not provided with a way to go directly to product pages themselves.”

For more information, check out the Amazon site.