January 27, 2004
Amazon Launches New Social Network Called "Pricekut"
Customers Can Now See and Comment on the Contents of Other Customers' Shopping Carts
Seattle, WA /DenounceNewswire/ -- 27 January 2004 -- Amazon.com announced today the launch its own "social network", called Pricekut, allowing its customers to meet old friends and make new ones while shopping for products on the site. The catch? A customer can only enter the social network by first making a purchase on the site, or by having a friend buy an item on his or her wish list. Like its name suggests, Pricekut members may buy items for less than non-members: typically they'll save 10 to 25 percent on top of any existing discounts.
"This is by far the coolest feature we've ever released," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. "We wanted to make shopping at Amazon more fun and even more social than it is already, and I think our millions of customers are going to be amazed how much fun and addictive this new feature is."
Once a customer is a member of Pricekut, they can begin adding friends to their network. Unlike with other social network services like Friendster, Orkut, and LinkedIn, members of Amazon's Pricekut all have one activity and interest in common: they like to buy things at Amazon.com. Now they can save money buying even more things while discovering new friends in their network.
How Pricekut Works
New Pricekut members are invited to fill out an extensive profile before they can begin participating in the network. The profile includes information such as first name, last name, home address, work address, social security number, race, skin color, hair color, dental records, identifying birthmarks, arrest record, political party affiliations, birth date, gender, sexual orientation, mother's maiden name, father's mother's maiden name, grandmother's maiden name, full medical history, current health insurance provider and all previous providers and their addresses and phone numbers, favorite music, favorite television shows, favorite books, least favorite music, least favorite televsion shows, least favorite books, favorite and least favorite movies, religious affiliation, gradeschool, high school, and college transcripts, car make, model, VIN, and license plate number, and driver's license number. Once users have filled out the form and read and agreed to the 93-page-long terms of service agreement, they can begin participating in the network.
Beta Testers React Positively
Researchers at MIT's Center for Deconstructing Social Software were invited to study the beta testers over the past two months, and issued their preliminary findings today. Among the more significant findings is that despite a rich new infusion of valuable data collected from field studies and direct observation in beta testers' homes, they are still not able to exactly identify what "social software" means or what kinds of software is "social" and what isn't.
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