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Twitter, American Express Letting People Purchase Goods Via Hashtag 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-doesn't-need-to-be-a-thing dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "What could possibly go wrong with this? American Express has announced a partnership with Twitter, giving customers the ability to sync "eligible cards" with the social network. Tweeting special product hashtags (i.e., #uselessjunk) will purchase a product via that synced card. American Express will then send a purchase-confirmation Tweet, and the usual shipping-and-handling of the product will commence. For Twitter, the partnership also holds significant advantages. If this initial foray succeeds, it could potentially evolve into a workable e-commerce model, and thus a separate stream of revenue for the social network aside from advertising. Also, research has shown that people tend to spend more money when using credit cards as opposed to cash. It's also quite possible that a streamlined online purchase mechanism—think any number of e-commerce Websites' "Buy Now" buttons—could compel potential customers to buy more often and in larger amounts."
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Twitter, American Express Letting People Purchase Goods Via Hashtag

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  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:24PM (#42875495) Homepage Journal
    Are you telling me that Packard-Bell is back in business?
    • by mysidia (191772)

      Are you telling me that Packard-Bell is back in business?

      I think there should be a large number of things waiting at your doorstep in a few days, if you tweet #uselessjunk one.

      You don't get just a Packard Bell... you also get yourself an Apple Newton, an Apple Lisa, a Sony Betamax, a Zune, a copy of Microsoft Windows ME, a copy of Microsoft Bob, a copy of Windows Vista, a copy of Windows 8, a Microsoft Surface, a Laserdisc Player, an Apple Lisa, an IBM PC JR, a pile of 8-track tapes, a Minidisc play

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:25PM (#42875511)

    Seeing how secure Twitter is, what could possibly go wrong?

    • by Hsien-Ko (1090623)
      Can you imagine those vizagra bots, with hashtags to purchase said vizagra, and a high priority of hijacking malware to get you to retweet hashtags that purchase vizagra?

      As Bubsy the Cat put it, what could possibly go wrong?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:42PM (#42875669)

      did u c the new BMW commercial? Wow! #BMW

      about 10 seconds later ... Your new BMW will be delivered on Thursday. Congrats and Enjoy! #MSRP

    • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:09PM (#42875885)

      Seeing how secure Twitter is, what could possibly go wrong?

      Exactly so.
      Twitter and security don't even fit in the same sentence. Everything you do or say on twitter is available world wide to anyone that cares to listen. This is the worst possible platform on which to do anything that might cost you money. When you tell the world that you just ordered that toy, at least some of those people will watch your door step for you.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        Here, you have to explicitly tweet (or retweet) a particular hashtag, and you have to have your card preauthorized. I still think it's a bit risky of a proposition, but at least it's trivial not to opt-in. What will happen is that the "particular hashtag", or rather "costly hashtag" space will become polluted, and the negative outcomes of this feature will get so much public outcry that it'll get dropped quickly -- or so one hopes.

        Alas, I had to double check the calendar, I thought it was April 1st already.

        • Twitter had a huge account-compromising break in, what, a MONTH ago? And now they want us to trust them with our credit history?!?
    • Pun intended. TFA did say the tweet-to-order scheme requires the use of a special "synced" card. So as long as you don't acquire that special card distinct from your primary card, then you're safe.

      If this becomes successful and gets deployed beyond this special arrangement, then I see the potential for abuse as a target of crackers and possibly shady commercial interests. Imagine Company X purchasing the hashtag #companyxeatschildren to indicate your interest in purchasing Product X. This would effectively

  • Eh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:26PM (#42875519)

    I'm not sure I understand. How does one browse products via twitter, or if one isn't in twitter, why would one use it rather than the purchase channel of the site they are on?

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      I'm not sure I understand. How does one browse products via twitter, or if one isn't in twitter, why would one use it rather than the purchase channel of the site they are on?

      I thought it was meant more for advertisements - you see an advertisement on the bus shelter for a fancy new umbrella and at the bottom it says "Tweet #BuyThisFancyNewUmbrella" to buy one today!"

      I don't think it's something I'd ever use (I turned off one-click purchases on my Amazon account since I don't need the purchase process to be that streamlined), but I can see why advertisers would find it attractive.

      • Re:Eh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @07:06PM (#42876371)

        Advertisers are morons. I work with them all day and they just don't have a clue how the real world works. What will happen is they'll have an awesome first month... then, slowly, the company will come to realize the majority of those purchases were either mistakes, scams or outright theft. By the time they realize their mistake the people that came up with the idea will have already collected their commissions/bonus and will have moved on to their next hair-brained idea or even a new company.

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          Advertisers are morons. I work with them all day and they just don't have a clue how the real world works. What will happen is they'll have an awesome first month... then, slowly, the company will come to realize the majority of those purchases were either mistakes, scams or outright theft. By the time they realize their mistake the people that came up with the idea will have already collected their commissions/bonus and will have moved on to their next hair-brained idea or even a new company.

          You must work with different marking people than I do. In my company, they can tell you with surprising accuracy how well an advertising campaign is doing (with numbers verified through several independent sources), including exactly how much it cost for each new sale and how many sales were cannibalized from other channels.

          • How much does it cost them for that level of accuracy and do they include that in their ROI numbers?

            Accuracy ain't cheap.

    • I'm not sure I understand. How does one browse products via twitter...?

      I think it would work more like a combination of adwords and a one-click purchase button.

      In other words, if you were to mention something like #Xbox in a tweet, a price and one-click purchase button would suddenly appear on the side of your tweet for yourself and your followers.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:26PM (#42875523)

    I tried #blowjobs and nothing happened.

    • I tried #blowjobs and nothing happened.

      Perhaps there's a problem with the Shipping and Handling - well the Shipping anyway.

    • by Rary (566291)

      I tried #blowjobs and nothing happened.

      Could be worse. You could've received one of these [5secondfilms.com].

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:29PM (#42875545) Homepage Journal

    could compel potential customers to buy more often and in larger amounts.

    Gee, wasn't spam supposed to do that? Businesses who go after impulse purchases like this are a danger to the foolish and an annoyance to everyone else. A credit card company should not be trying to create economic activity, only to facilitate pre-existing activity or pre-existing needs that are encumbered by technological and social boundaries. This crosses the line into monstrous.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      HAH! You're implying that these companies give even the slightest of two shits about people in general, that's cute. Danger to the foolish == Easy money. Annoyance to everyone else == Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of my fourth yacht being chromed thanks to the foolish.

    • by tibit (1762298) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:42PM (#42876157)

      I agree, but I don't know what fantasyland do you currently live in where credit card companies are not trying to create economic activity. People wouldn't be able to buy the crap they can't afford if it wasn't for pocketable credit, a.k.a. credit cards. In other words: the credit card companies were creating economic activity almost since day one, by allowing the gullible to buy stuff they can't afford. This hashtag purchase option just further lowers the bar that is already too low. IMHO it'll only be used by the most clueless -- those who are easiest to exploit by the system anyway. The whole idea is basically just to further exploit the underprivileged, as those are the ones vastly most likely to buy stuff they can't afford. It's not even shafting the little people, it's shafting the poorest of the little people. It is monstrous, but it's not new.

      • I agree, but I don't know what fantasyland do you currently live in where credit card companies are not trying to create economic activity. People wouldn't be able to buy the crap they can't afford if it wasn't for pocketable credit, a.k.a. credit cards. In other words: the credit card companies were creating economic activity almost since day one, by allowing the gullible to buy stuff they can't afford. This hashtag purchase option just further lowers the bar that is already too low. IMHO it'll only be used by the most clueless -- those who are easiest to exploit by the system anyway. The whole idea is basically just to further exploit the underprivileged, as those are the ones vastly most likely to buy stuff they can't afford. It's not even shafting the little people, it's shafting the poorest of the little people. It is monstrous, but it's not new.

        How many underprivileged people have AmEx cards *and* Internet access?

        AmEx cards are accepted at fewer locations, and my experience has been that AmEx cards tend to charge membership fees - while many Visa/MC offers do not. In short, I don't expect AmEx to be a credit card the "underprivileged" use, or something they could be easily exploited on.

        • by cusco (717999)
          AmEx may not be a credit card for the "underprivileged", but it certainly used to be the employer of choice for the terminally stupid in the computer field. In 1998-99 I converted my employer's data transfers from shipping 9-track tapes all over to modem transfers or encrypted email. The only exception was American Express, which insisted that I drop the file, unencrypted, without even a password on the zip file, into a folder on their anonymous FTP site. Really.

          I brought this particular piece of st
    • by rjstanford (69735)

      Gee, wasn't spam supposed to do that?

      Yes. And the reason that it continues to be an issue is that it works. Not much, but far in excess of the cost and burden to the spammer.

  • Whoa, dude (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:30PM (#42875557)

    I need you to clarify, when you tweeted #dell were you interested in buying Dell's new $50 thumbstick computer, or DELL (NASDAQ) for 24.4 billion USD?

    - Steve

  • Just what we need: another quick, mindless way to increase our credit card debt!
  • I laughed when I read the summary.

    Then I read it again and realized it wasn't a joke.

    WTF... who the hell thinks this kind of crap up?

  • That's fine for something like #pear or #iphone4 but what about if you have something more complicated? Some of my purchases would be hard to put into a hashtag:

    #IntelCorei53570KQuadCoreProcessorASUSP8Z77VLKZ77MotherboardG-SkillDDR316GBMemorySeagate2TBHDDApexATXMidTowerCaseApex500WPSUSuperCombo

    A better model might be able to add a bar on the left, that like WOOT only has a few items each day, and you need to tweet the hashtag it to get the deal.
    • by corbettw (214229)

      In this case, I imagine a seller creating a short hastag, ala bit.ly, that is used a pointer to the item itself. So the hashtag would be something like #q9iHH8, not the long string you just posted.

    • That's fine for something like #pear or #iphone4 but what about if you have something more complicated?

      What species of pear? What color? Whole, sliced, or canned? How ripe? Jelly, maybe? An entire pear tree?

      You, sir, have underestimated the intricacy of fruit purchasing!

      • by rjstanford (69735)

        What species of pear? What color? Whole, sliced, or canned? How ripe? Jelly, maybe? An entire pear tree?

        You, sir, have underestimated the intricacy of fruit purchasing!

        I misread that as "intimacy of fruit purchasing." Not sure what that says about me, but very glad to re-read it correctly.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      That's fine for something like #pear or #iphone4 but what about if you have something more complicated? Some of my purchases would be hard to put into a hashtag:

      #IntelCorei53570KQuadCoreProcessorASUSP8Z77VLKZ77MotherboardG-SkillDDR316GBMemorySeagate2TBHDDApexATXMidTowerCaseApex500WPSUSuperCombo

      Yeah, and when I bought my house I had to read and sign a hundred pages of paperwork, so how will that work over twitter? It's a stupid idea if it won't work for every purchase.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        Oh no, it's not a stupid idea, it's the perfect plan to shaft the gullible out of the last money they can't afford. The next logical step will be the debtors' prisons, obviously run by private corporations like most of the prisons are. Free labor, right here in the U.S., hardly subject to any labor standards.

  • #creditcardiuseonlyforbuyingdildos

  • Who decides what the hashtags are? As I'd like to reserve #superbowl, #olympics, #worldcup, #snow, #summer and perhaps #gmaildown for my yet-to-be-invented product.

  • by RedHackTea (2779623) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:51PM (#42875743)
    "Dude, I just bought the new Monkey; it is really cool! #monkey"
    (Monkey has been charged to your account.)
    "Stupid American Express. I didn't want to buy Monkey again! #monkey #1stworldproblems"
    (Monkey has been charged to your account.)
    "Damn you American Express!!!!! I do not want a 4th Monkey!!!!!!! #monkey #ihateae"
    (Monkey has been charged to your account.)
    • "Heh, look at this idiot: RT Damn you American Express!!!!! I do not want a 4th Monkey!!!!!!! #monkey #ihateae"
      (Monkey has been charged to your account)

    • What happens with typos?

      "Man, I hope payday comes soon. My wallet is empty. I'm out of #monkey."
      "Oops... Typo. Meant, I'm out of #money."
      (Monkey has been charged to your account.)

      • by drcheap (1897540)

        "Oops... Typo. Meant, I'm out of #money."

        (money has been charged to your credit card)

        Plus applicable processing fee, because you just performed a cash advance. And by default the amount is equal to your "available for advance" amount in full. Have fun with that!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As anyone who works with the credit card companies knows, AMEX is one of the worst on service charges. They charge 5% of every sale to the seller. Where would the "seperate stream of revenue" come from? Do they expect that as a retailer, I would pay twitter another fee in addition to the fee I have to pay AMEX as well as the fees for my own transaction processor? Twitter and AMEX can team up all they want, but what are they selling? Give me a list of retailers or vendors lining up for this deal.

    Expect

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@y a h o o . c om> on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:53PM (#42875755) Journal

    Is see this as being ripe for abuse. The first time this goes live, someone is going to link a hashtag of something innocuous (like #wintercoat) to something expensive, and lots of people won't realize the mistake until they read their monthly bill and see a charge for $2000 on it. I can't imagine the system will last more than a day once people start complaining.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Is see this as being ripe for abuse. The first time this goes live, someone is going to link a hashtag of something innocuous (like #wintercoat) to something expensive, and lots of people won't realize the mistake until they read their monthly bill and see a charge for $2000 on it. I can't imagine the system will last more than a day once people start complaining.

      Then that person should have read the purchase confirmation tweet that Amex sends back when they receive an order. Presumably this will give instructions on cancelling an errant purchase.

      • by Rary (566291)
        Additionally, the person will have had to intentionally sync their card with their Twitter account to enable this in the first place. It's a stupid idea from a consumer perspective, although kind of brilliant from a marketing perspective, as now not only do we make purchases but we announce them to the world, but it's not nearly as prone to abuse as folks here are making it seem.
    • by OverlordQ (264228)

      Is see this as being ripe for abuse. The first time this goes live, someone is going to link a hashtag of something innocuous (like #wintercoat) to something expensive, and lots of people won't realize the mistake until they read their monthly bill and see a charge for $2000 on it.

      Did you even read the fucking summary?

      Tweeting special product hashtags (i.e., #uselessjunk) will purchase a product via that synced card. American Express will then send a purchase-confirmation Tweet

      If somebody is stupid enough

      • by corbettw (214229)

        Did you even read the fucking summary?

        Have you ever been on fucking Twitter? People retweet shit all the time, regardless of what it says. If they retweet something with the product hashtag, and then get something from Amex to confirm there's a good chance they'll retweet that, too, without even reading it.

        Mark my words, this won't last because the public is too stupid to use it safely.

  • by Morpeth (577066) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:59PM (#42875797)

    please answer my question. I have never used Twitter, ever. Don't really feel compelled to, about the only social media I engage in is some FB.

    I thought at it's core Twitter was just basically a 140 character text. So is this purchasing concept, essentially sending a text with product/store information to some kind of purchase processing service?

    • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:18PM (#42875969) Homepage Journal

      Except that instead of sending the text message to another person's phone, or some corporate address, you're sending it to Twitter, who broadcasts it to the entire world.

      The canonical use case is:
      Advertiser: Hey, world! Buy a gizmo for $20 by tweeting #gizmo.
      You: Why yes! I would like a #gizmo!
      Amex: Did you really mean to buy a gizmo? If so, we're gonna charge your AmEx and send it to your house.
      You: Why yes! I do have poor impulse control!

      Each of these is a 140-char message, all of it showing up on Twitter. Since your twitter feed is (supposedly) locked with a password, it's authenticated to be actually you making the purchase, even though everything is happening in the open and literally broadcast. (Security people may now roll their eyes.)

      It's basically taking another canonical Twitter use case and turning it around. Already you get cases like this:
      You (at Amazon web page): I want the mega pack of Ex-Lax.
      Amazon: Done. Would you like to tell all of your friends?
      You: Why, yes, of course. My friends need to know everything about me.
      Your Twitter Feed: [You] just bought enough laxative to unplug the Hoover Dam.
      Your mom (who follows you on Twitter): @[You], you should eat more fiber!

      This kinda skips the intermediate step of buying the product in one place and then having to separately inform your vast army of followers. You combine both into one handy operation.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        Yeah... but if you wanted to keep it private, wouldn't you skip Twitter? I suppose retailer X could offer a 20% discount on certain products, but it would be the exception to the rule.

        • by jfengel (409917)

          I imagine that they would be happy to provide the sale via some other mechanism. You can probably hit the web site and get roughly the same deal much of the time.

          It's just that people spend a lot of time on Twitter, and they're looking for a way to get people to buy stuff in a single step. The easier you make it for people to buy, the more they'll buy. Twitter is all about people with very little editing, a constant stream of thoughts that enter their heads and go out their fingers, no matter how banal or i

          • by mysidia (191772)

            I imagine that they would be happy to provide the sale via some other mechanism.

            Yeah, but someone might offer a twitter-only special, to incentivize that method -- just because of a theory that tweeting it serves to to influence followers...

            EG. "Using the twitter method of purchasing adds value," because not only do you buy the item, you are essentially advertising it to your friends.

            So that factor, might lead some marketers to strategically offer certain discounts just for twitter users

  • If this initial foray succeeds, it could potentially evolve into a workable e-commerce model

    Sorry, what?

    I like the idea of alternatives to the traditional marketplace, but this just seems completely pointless - A solution in need of a problem.

    I didn't get up today and say to myself "Gee, Self, I need #bread, if only I didn't need to actually stop at the store I drive past every day to and from work to get some". I didn't fantasize about future Twitter hacks costing me real money. And I sure as hell
    • by cusco (717999)
      The husband of one of my wife's friends has synched his phone camera to his Farcebook page. This moron actually takes photos of the receipt every time he buys something expensive, which of course goes straight to Facebook. I really don't understand the reasoning.

      BTW, I'll take those tickets off your hands . . .
  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:09PM (#42875877) Journal

    First you need to tweet a certain hashtag.
    AmexSync then sees this tweet and then replies to your tweet with a second hashtag you must tweet to complete the purchase.
    You can either tweet this second tweet to confirm your purchase, or wait 15 minutes and the window closes, and it will require you to go back to step one.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @06:17PM (#42875945)
    ... #AmEx or #AmericanExpress and drive the whole thing into a deep recursion.
  • do RTs count? Now I just need to follow every funny tweet with #SendWill$5 and I'll be rich in no time.
  • If I ran a retail outfit, I'd be drooling. Think of all the data out there, just waiting to be correlated. As a consumer, this is pretty creepy.
  • Sounds like something Dwolla did a few months ago. Pay your friend just my sending a twitter message.

    http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/12/12/dwolla-builds-support-for-sending-money-over-twitter-taking-on-chirpify-at-their-own-game/ [thenextweb.com]

  • I assume this will initially be used to facilitate impulsive donations to #favoritecause.
  • This sounds like a completely idiotic idea purely to separate the gullible and those with poor impulse control from their money. I predict it will be a massive success.

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