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Mar 30, 2009 | 2 minute read

Cross-Website Personalization: Will It Happen?

written by Linda Bustos

During my travels around the Internet, there have been a couple occasions where I have been asked if I wanted to use Facebook Connect with a website:

Facebook Connect is a way to "take your online identity with you all over the Web." It's an example of websites sharing data with each other to enhance the user experience with each Web property.

Could this concept work in an online shopping context? Particularly for personalization?

Last summer, Amazon introduced Checkout by Amazon. Using IP-recognition, Checkout by Amazon allows retailers to provide Amazon's over-81 Million customers the option to checkout with 1-Click using their Amazon account information. Like PayPal and Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon is a way for customers to retain their privacy and checkout faster. But with Checkout by Amazon, retailers can also show Amazon cross-sells and up-sells to earn affiliate commissions.

But what if Amazon started sharing what it knows about a customer's browsing habits and purchase history with other retailers to better personalize the shopping experience? When an Amazon customer lands on your site, your personalization tool would connect with Amazon to show cross-sells based on past history. Example: customer bought Sony Playstation, you'd serve up Playstation accessories and games, rather than other console brands on the home page.

  • Customer wins: better personalized shopping experiences on external sites
  • Retailer wins: better merchandizing ability to new shoppers
  • Amazon wins: Amazon could offer subscriptions to its service for retailers (you don't think Amazon would do this for free, do you?)

Of course privacy is a concern, so it would be opt in like Facebook Connect:

"Would you like to connect [Online Retailer] with your Amazon Account for a more personalized shopping experience?"

(Buttons) YES, Connect Me / NO, Thank You / Tell Me More

By proceeding, you are agreeing to Amazon Connect Terms of Use. By using [Online Retailer], you also agree to the [Online Retailer] Terms of Service.

Logged in as Linda Bustos (Not you?)

The idea is not "here's something that Amazon could/should do." Rather, I ask the question - what are the opportunities now and in the future for personalization -- will there be sharing of information between businesses? Will web users embrace such sharing?

What do you think?