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Amazon adds stickers to the camera in its iPhone app to try to sell you stuff

Amazon adds stickers to the camera in its iPhone app to try to sell you stuff


I have no idea why this exists

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In a confusing addition to the Amazon app earlier this week, you can now add stickers to pictures taken using the bundled camera, as spotted by TechCrunch. Taken at face value, that sentence isn’t inherently strange: after all, everyone wants their app to be the next big social networking thing, and stickers are just table stakes at this point. Basically every single messaging or photo app, from Instagram to iMessage to Facebook to (of course) Snapchat has stickers built it.

But this is the Amazon app. It is not a social networking or messaging app. It, from what I can tell, has no real aspirations to be those things. It is designed to sell you stuff. The camera feature, which was added in 2014, is only there to allow you to scan real-world items so that Amazon can sell them to you.

But even weirder, the stickers aren’t just your usual bunch of cartoons and emoji. Rather, they’re Amazon products — sticking a sticker on top of a picture also brings up a link to buy the product. Of course, that link only works in the Amazon app, and there’s no way to preserve that data if you send it to someone. Plus, given that the Amazon app is primarily meant to sell you stuff, there’s no real good mechanism to send it other than kicking it to the iOS Share Sheet and punting the still image to another app.

And while you might think that this is intended as some sort of vague attempt at augmented reality to let you see how those ninja-shaped salt and pepper shakers will fit on your mantle, the images are still obviously stickers, with a massive white borders, so it doesn’t even work for that.

So, to recap: Amazon has added stickers to the Amazon app, allowing you to add images of Amazon products to pictures, with links to buy them that only you can see. The stickers seem to only be available on iOS for now.