Retailers like Amazon are constantly looking for ways to boost their bottom lines, and one of the easiest is by leveraging and monetizing the customers they already have. That’s starting to happen with smart home devices — last year, Google ran an experiment with audio ads on Google Home devices, which made a lot of people upset. Now, a CNBC report claims that Amazon might do something similar on its Echo speaker lineup.
Amazon is currently in talks with brands like Procter & Gamble and Clorox for ads within specific skills, and for data-sharing agreements that’d let them dig through users’ shopping history, according to CNBC. It’s also talked with companies about sponsored placements in product searches on Echo devices, and about using customers’ purchase habits to suggest products they might like.
The discussions have reportedly been kept private so far.
The move would certainly be a slippery slope for Amazon. The retail juggernaut might dominate the smart speaker market right now (this holiday season, the Alexa companion application climbed to the number one spot on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store), but the market is incredibly premature. Losing customer trust could make people think twice about buying an Amazon Echo device in the future.
We’ll just have to wait and see if it ends up taking things too far.