Amazon has launched a new tool, Amazon Giveaway, that dramatically simplifies the process of holding contests around products in the company's massive inventory. So long as the item you want to give away is sold by Amazon.com and under $5,000 in value, you can set up a promotional sweepstakes with a few clicks. You choose the item being offered up, and Amazon handles pretty much everything else. The online retailer runs the actual giveaway, notifies winners, and handles shipping, tax reporting, and other bothersome tasks. All you've got to worry about is paying for the thing you're giving away.
Giveaways can be run in one of two ways: a first-come, first-served model that rewards those who get in quickly, and a "lucky number" approach that will select a winner based on a number you pick (i.e. every 25th entrant). The maximum number of prizes you can give away is 50, and entrants find out immediately whether they've won. You can require hopeful entrants to follow your Twitter account before they get a chance to win. So yes, in some respect that means you're buying Twitter followers.
Anyone with an Amazon account "in good standing" and a credit card able to foot the cost of prizes can run a giveaway, and Amazon is positioning it as a great way to rack up your social media presence thanks to the social media tie in. The Giveaway tool is only available to US residents, and if prizes total more than $500, Rhode Island residents are barred from participating. Also, don't expect to use your Amazon Prime shipping privileges if you win; everything is shipped "standard" and Amazon won't even provide tracking numbers for giveaway prizes.
Amazon says it's designed Giveaway for everyone: artists, authors, bloggers, non-profits, and "social media gurus." But really, the company is targeting brands first and foremost, clearly hoping they'll move giveaways away from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram in favor of Amazon's new tool. And for those entering, Amazon says they can feel confident knowing they're not getting scammed by visiting some random contest website. To start off, Amazon is running some giveaways of its own. Those and other future sweepstakes will be showcased on this page. Does it mean you'll be seeing less giveaway spam across social media? Definitely not. But if you ever feel like randomly trying your luck to win some free stuff, now you know where to go.