Digital Publishing Reader Revenue
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Publishers warily embrace program to run their content on

Amazon has been running a test with a small group of publishers where versions of publishers’ commerce-focused articles are accessible directly inside Amazon’s website.

The articles can be found through Google or via specific keywords inside Amazon and are shoppable just like they’d be on a publisher’s own site. For some commerce-focused publishers, these tests represent an opportunity to get in front of an enormous number of shoppers.

But that scale and exposure comes at a price. Amazon is not offering publishers licensing fees to run their content. Instead it is tying publishers’ content fees to performance in driving purchases. If a reader decides to buy a product recommended in a specific article, a click on that product directs them to the product page inside Amazon, where they can complete the purchase. The publication subsequently earns a commission. 

The commission rates, according to reports, are identical to the ones Amazon would pay out if the transaction originated on a publisher’s own website.

Should opportunities arise to work with Amazon more closely, publishers will have to figure out if that’s worth it, not just for the additional expenditure of time and energy but the prospect of becoming overly dependent on them. “That concern, writ large, is the problem we face with every single platform on the distributed web,” one publisher said.

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