web 2.0 and social media | August 26, 2012

Internet speaker Virginia Heffernan Says Amazon is Now an Online Content Producer

When Amazon started to categorize purchases of its political books as either "red" or "blue," the mega-retailer became, in essence, a media company—a producer of content. So says Internet speaker Virginia Heffernan. Amazon, she argues, is "not a virtual bookstore anymore. Instead, it’s an immersive online media experience—the kind that washingtonpost.com or bloomberg.com endeavors, less successfully, to provide to users." As she’s said before, all companies, whether they realize it or not, are now basically media companies.

Amazon's "Election Heat Map," she notes, creates connections between the ideological content of online purchases made and presidential candidate preferences. It even goes as far as organizing the data by state. It's not necessarily a barometer to gauge the number of Obama supporters versus Romney advocates, nor is the categorization process completely unflawed. The important part about the infographic, Heffernan says, is that it exists at all.

Amazon, specifically, has shifted its focus to become not only a business, but also a cultural tool to stimulate discussion and inform its readers—an adaptation that Heffernan, a renowned Internet speaker, believes puts the company right on trend in terms of what the Net should provide to users.

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