Just months after the Facebook IPO sparked concern for users’ privacy, Twitter and American Express announced a new initiative that is raising eyebrows. The partnership between Twitter and American Express will create a new online shopping platform using Twitter to offer special discounts and deals. American Express members that participate in what’s being called, “Amex Sync,” will be able to purchase featured products by mentioning the proper hash tag. The customer will then receive a follow-up email from American Express allowing 15 minutes to confirm their purchase.
While this new method appears simple and ultimately a more convenient way to shop, the catch is that only public Twitter profiles are able to participate. CNN explained, “Since protected accounts aren't allowed, there's no way to take advantage of a discount without it being public information.” Meaning once the consumer purchases a product via Amex Sync, the product or brand receives automatic promotion over Twitter for all of the consumer’s followers to see.
Twitter, heavily reliant on advertising as its main source of revenue nowadays, created the Amex Sync plan as a new source of financing. But what’s the incentive for the consumer to make a purchase off of Twitter when there are so many other e-commerce and special deals sites out there? Facebook tried its hand at a similar concept with “Facebook Gifts” but this has resulted in more of a struggle than a success.
Not to mention, this raises the question – how is this safe? According to MSN, “on the safety front, American Express said people's credit card information is not shared with Twitter or merchants, so even if hackers gain access to someone's Twitter account they won't be able to get their credit card information.”
Will this new American Express and Twitter partnership soar into the e-commerce market, or will they have to hatch a new plan? It appears the answer lies in the hash tags, or lack thereof.
Big thanks to our contributor and intern, Kelly Brockett for her assistance with this post.