Kindle Fire

Amazon has announced a very intuitive new feature, allowing users of any Amazon app the ability to make purchases, without even leaving the app. Not more tokens for your Bingo Bash obsession, though; this is about making Amazon purchases.

If you’ve ever been checking out a how-to or DIY article, and thought things like “I’m not even sure what a torque wrench even is”, Amazon would have you covered. Their new Mobile Associates API would allow developers to create in-app purchasing scenarios, based on what was happening in the app, at any given point.

Let’s say you’re reading a recipe, and it calls for you to roll out some pasta. That’s not easy to do by hand, so the app may suggest you purchase a pasta roller via Amazon, and link you to some popular options. Buy your pasta roller with Amazon’s “1-click” purchasing, and you’re well on your way to a mind blowing culinary experience.

While this is an interesting monetization strategy for developers, it has the ability to really expose them as well. Bad apps often have a plethora of pop-ups and other strategies to sell you more things, be it extra levels or play credits, maybe even a paywall for premium content. If in-app purchases involved real-world Amazon items in addition to those other pop-ups, it could get really annoying, really quickly.

This function also has the chance to make just about every Amazon app as annoying as those with pop-ups we loathe. I don’t know that I want to have a developer trying to sell me something at every turn in the app. It could be great, and for Amazon Kindle users, we hope it is — but it’s a slippery slope to navigate for developers.