Amazon Coins Make Debut with $5 in Free Apps for Kindle Fire Users (May 14, 2013)
Amazon hopes to spark interest among tablet customers in using its apps to purchase games and other items by giving certain users $5 in free digital goods. Seattle-based Amazon this week announced the availability of a proprietary currency called Amazon Coins that customers may use to purchase apps in the Amazon Appstore and on the Kindle Fire device. All new and existing Kindle Fire customers immediately received 500 free Amazon Coins, equivalent to $5, deposited into their Amazon accounts to buy games and other items. Amazon said the coins are an easy way for consumers to make in-app purchases and also for developers to drive traffic and monetize product offerings.
Initially Amazon Coins can be used only to purchase in-app items, such as games, but the company plans to expand available offerings. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities—today is Day One for Coins,” said Mike George, Amazon’s vice president of apps and games. Customers also may earn discounts of 10 percent off the face value of Amazon Coins, George added.
In-app currencies and credits have had mixed results. Facebook introduced Facebook Credits in 2010 but phased out the concept in 2012 and now is testing the waters with the Facebook Card introduced earlier this year with several major brand partners.
Amazon’s initial focus with Amazon Coins appears to lean heavily toward helping in-app developers build their businesses. Amazon Appstore developers will earn 70 percent revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins, the company said.