Showing your face at Amazon

Web 2.0 and “Social Influence” marketing gurus Razorfish produced an interesting slide deck recently about the implications of über-stores like Amazon implementing or integrating with ID providers like Facebook Connect or Google’s Friend Connect.

Basically this means that by logging into Amazon with your Facebook ID you are gaining single sign-on authentication in exchange for sharing your Facebook profile with Amazon.

Your Facebook profile has become what Razorfish call a Portable Social Graph. It means that any web site can now enable itself with the power of social context by borrowing that context from Facebook. This goes way beyond the simple publishing of news feed items about your activities back to Facebook or presenting lists of items that your peers also bought.

A web site enabled with Facebook Connect can instantly tell a number key things about you. Most obviously about your preferences, likes, dislikes etc either explicit or based on your peer group. Remember that your Facebook profile is very rich. But more subtly its about how connected you are and who you are connected to.

Imagine this as the final fruition of (or at least the next big evolution in) social marketing schemes that began many years ago aimed at identifying the “Alpha Kids” in a given group and using them to spread viral marketing because they were the most “contagious”. Companies that had a cool new product would go into a “neighbourhood” and just start asking, “who’s the coolest kid you know?” Then they would ask that kid the same question and so on. Eventually they would home in on the kid who answered “me”. They would give that kid the product for free and so the viral marketing would begin. Now imagine the same kind of scheme but where a company could judge your “coolness” as a function of how connected you are and who you are connected to in an instant as you log on and then target offers and discounts at you accordingly…the mind boggles.

The truth is any community or peer group of buyers has its “Alpha” members, not just the kids and their video games. Whether its consoles, cars, cardigans or carpet slippers someone is the “go to guy” for a whole load of people when they need the skinny on which lawnmower to buy and social context can help vendors identify those people.

Now, just for a second, imagine that your competitors are doing this and you aren’t…

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