Using bad reviews to sell stuff

Here’s a ‘sponsored link’ purchased by Amazon on the popular social news site Reddit.  The text of the ad is a excerpt from Roger Ebert’s scathing review of the movie Caligula (the review opens with “Caligula is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash” and it goes downhill from there).

I found it a bit curious to see Amazon using such a horrendous review in an ad, but those folks at Amazon are clever. The ad has over 300 comments by Reddit readers meaning that many thousands have probably clicked on the ad to see which movie Ebert was talking about.  Hundreds of comments, thousands of visitors all from a 10 word excerpt of a scathing review of the movie. Not too shabby.

Updatethe commenters point out that the sponsored link is not purchased by Amazon but by Reddit user qgyh2 who makes money via Amazon’s affiliate program. As Dan says – “he picks headlines that are likely to encourage people to click on the link and then he makes money from whatever they buy while they are at Amazon.” So, qgyh2 is the clever one (but Amazon gets cleverage points for encouraging this kind of stuff via their affiliate program).

Update 2 – flx points out that qgyh2 actually works for Reddit.  Here’s more info‘He’s helping us experiment with new ways of supporting the site. We weren’t really ready to announce this one yet, or even decide if it’s going to be a permanent fixture. When we do, there will be a blog post about it.’

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  1. #1 by Dan on October 5, 2010 - 9:33 am

    It’s not a link purchased by Amazon. ggyh2 is a Reddit user who buys sponsored links to make money from Amazon’s affiliate programme. He picks headlines that are likely to encourage people to click on the link and then he makes money from whatever they buy while they are at Amazon.

  2. #4 by Russ Garrett on October 5, 2010 - 9:35 am

    The thing about the Amazon affiliate program is that you get commission on any products the user buys within 24 hours of clicking on your affiliate link.

    So even if people click on that link and then don’t buy the film, the guy will probably get revenue from other purchases.

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