Amazon launches another controversial ad feature

Patrick Devaney
Dec 11, 2022
Updated • Dec 9, 2022

Ads have been a fundamental part of the Web 2 experience. Pretty much all of the major web sites, products, and services are built, at least in part, off the profits they gather from optimized and tailored ads. Amazon is no different here and as you would expect from a company like Amazon, has actually pushed a little too far on a number of occasions in its attempts to get access to and its use of our personal data. Today, we have news of another new ads feature that may fall into the same controversial category.

Amazon launches another controversial ad feature

It was earlier this year when it became apparent that Amazon’s gift registries feature was not nearly as private as users would have hoped. A report by The Intercept revealed that the feature was so open that it offered identity thieves an almost one-stop-shop to get all they needed to steal a user’s identity. If we go back a little further to July last year, Amazon received a record fine of $888 million from the Luxembourg Data Protection Authority for GDPR-related infractions.

Much like Facebook and Meta, Amazon has a checkered past when it comes to privacy so we need to be careful whenever the company releases a new feature that could potentially infringe upon it. That is why privacy is at the forefront of this article, which is reporting on a new Amazon feature that will see the company paying users $2 a month if they share details of when and where they see Amazon ads on the mobiles. Sure, this could see you earning a small portion of your Amazon Prime subscription, but what else is going on here?

The feature is called ad verification and is available to Amazon users who have the Amazon Shopper Panel app installed on their phone. The Shopper Panel asks users to send receipts they have from other retailers, as well as filling out various surveys, etc. in exchange for up to $10 a month. The new ad verification feature adds an extra feature on top of it for users in the US and UK.

Worryingly, however, the feature isn’t limited to Amazon ads and will also snoop on the ads you are seeing from other retailers too. The company says it will use the data for making more finely tuned advertisements as well as product recommendations on its site and apps. Although, Amazon does say that it will keep all of the data private, the cases outlined above clearly show that we need to take those assertions with a pinch of salt.

Amazon launches another controversial ad feature
Article Name
Amazon launches another controversial ad feature
Amazon has launched a new ads feature that will pay users who participate but that also raises several privacy concerns.
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  1. yanta said on December 12, 2022 at 2:38 am

    Most people either are unaware that their privacy is being violated or don’t care. That childish mentality of “I have nothing to hide” is the go to answer for many people. It’s all too hard so I’ll just ignore it and pretend it’s not happening.

    1. Mystique said on December 12, 2022 at 9:53 am

      Absolutely agree. The best way to handle this is to not use android or IOS but something like GrapheneOS and run a root level adblocker or if you must learn to strip away some of the crap from apps like Amazon.

      In recent times everyone has made an excuse to screw the consumer and the tech world is not immune to the crap you see in the outside world. Amazon is losing tons of money so they are looking at all sorts of ways to monetize users as well as extract as much money as they can from you so expect the worst from them and many more soon. Netflix is another great example of this.

  2. Anonymous said on December 11, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    Just look at Twitch, with almost impossible ads to block, the only way to ‘block’ them is by using proxies, which means, you have to trust them, and all they do is to change region where ads are still not available, which is not blocking, just taking advantage of many countries still not getting Twitch ads crap.

    Scriptlets have been going obsolete and no way to block the ads, and people getting 3 or 5 and even 9 ads in a row.

    Amazon is even worst than Google, because G can try to find workarounds to get rid of ads but they are not so stupid to make them impossible to block even if they could, because they know people are either going to pay premium or watch the ads and few people block them.

    Amazon is like the worst company when it comes to ads but people will keep using them.

    1. Alex said on December 12, 2022 at 6:30 am

      Ublock Origin on desktop blocks all ads on Twitch on my side.
      I know they serve ads where I’m at because if I use the mobile app or disable Ublock I see the ads.
      Every once in a while ads get through but that lasts a couple of days and then I don’t see them again for a long time.

  3. Robert said on December 11, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    “Web 2”

    Please. Let’s not pretend that there is something even remotely promising known as “Web 3”. At least on serious tech site.

  4. Tom Hawack said on December 11, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    Unabashed inquisition. As users are increasingly concerned by their privacy and aware of it being violated corporations are increasingly rude. Personally I don’t use any of Amazon’s products, never will. I prefer dedicated commerces. Again, let’s face it : peeking in one’s privacy is incorrect, forcing one’s way in our lives is the level above : RUDE. Let them go to hell.

    1. Alex said on December 12, 2022 at 6:33 am

      That’s a good attitude and try to do that myself as well.
      Unfortunately I see lots of younger people okay with corporations snooping in their private things. Their excuse is that: “you’re already on the internet, there’s no privacy so might as well just go with it and use all the services you want since they already have all your information”

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