Amazon Spark, the e-commerce giant’s Instagram/Pinterest mashup, is only a couple of weeks old, but it’s already overrun with ads.
During a recent scroll through Spark’s feed, 20 posts out of 55 were labeled #sponsored (by Amazon, no less). That Amazon would use Spark as a thinly veiled marketing channel to boost its own sales should surprise no one; its community guidelines prohibit brands from steering customers to products sold off Amazon. But that it would do so this aggressively raises an important question: What’s the point of posting to Spark if you’re not being paid to do so?
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.