Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Add Amazon to the List of "Going Green"

I’m an Amazon affiliate (“associate” in their terminology) and every so often I get an email from the program. My use of the associates program is limited to a direct sales channel for my textbook, so the emails usually are read and discarded. This one interested me—both because of the subject matter and because Amazon generally does these things so well. That seems to be true of Amazon Green.

The email is encouraging me to download a banner that promotes the program. If I download it using my associates ID number, I can add it to the items that generate referral fees. They seem to have two basic banner messages Go Green and Green Lighting as well as the various formats illustrated in the email. That probably reflects product issues, and I’d expect the number of product-specific banners to increase over time to better reflect the affiliate’s website and increase the probability of click-throughs.

When you investigate the Green 3™ program, you see it’s customer oriented. The customer can select products for the program. A purchase is required to “vote” on products—fair enough. They have over 1,500 products on the list and over 6,000 “votes” (unique customers or total of votes cast; they don’t say), so people are participating. Most of the items on the page are typical Amazon promotion, “Green Three™ Frontrunners” for example. But there are also links to resources like the federal government’s Energy Star page.
There is also a blog—of course. The description of the program on the blog is interesting. Wonder how they chose the “team of Amazonians” to participate in the Green Scene program? The blog is active and informative and you can put it on your Amazon daily page if you wish. Each blog entry has a feedback opportunity: “Interesting? Yes or No” Nice touch. On another page I found a link to a FAQs page detailing what Amazon itself is doing to be more green—they don’t miss a beat.

This doesn’t seem to be “greenwashing.” I wrote a post for eBrandMarketing not long ago in which I trashed Target for one of the most blatant examples of greenwashing that I’ve seen. Amazon’s program is promotional, it’s intended to sell more products, but the information seems legitimate. And it is set up to engage employees, customers and affiliates.

I’d suggest that a project like this—if it’s really “walking the walk” not just “talking the talk” can be highly engaging to three key groups--your employees, your customers and your affiliates. How do you describe “triple win?” That’s what it looks like!

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