You might pay extra to interact with your favorite streaming stars on Twitch, but would you click over to Amazon to buy products that those stars recommend? Amazon hopes that you will, and announced this week that broadcasters on Twitch will be able to earn up to 10% commission on items that they recommend to viewers.
Watch it, then buy it
This builds on in-stream selling features that Amazon has tried in the past, such as offering viewers the opportunity to buy the same game that they’re watching someone else play.
The new feature, called Gear on Amazon, will feature items recommended by streamers in an on-screen widget on the page. At the bottom of the widget, there’s a tiny disclosure that the streamer will receive a commission from your purchase.
As Twitch begins to carry more content other than video games, including opportunities to watch people cook, eat, or make art, that opens up opportunities to sell items other than games, consoles, and headsets to fans.
“Many streamers have such strong connections with your communities that you can earn a living on their support,” Kathy Astromoff, the head of develper platform at Twitch, said while presenting the new features this week in advance of the gaming convention PAX West. “Our mission at Twitch is to build tools and services that help even more streamers do this.”
Where developers come in is that the Gear on Amazon widget is just one of many extensions that will be available for streamers on Twitch.
Don’t alienate current users
What the site doesn’t want to risk is losing its place as a spot where people with a common interest gather online to watch things and chat.
That’s why it’s rolling out features like this slowly,rather than transforming a familiar stream screen into a mini-mall right away. Streams are free to watch, but the site uses traditional advertising.
Both big-name “partners,” who get money from Twitch, and small-time “affiliates,” who can receive small contributions from their viewers, will be eligible for the sales commission program.