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Amazon announces “Coins” – its own “virtual currency” to be introduced in May 2013

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Amazon Coins

It’s going to be interesting to see what direction Amazon takes with its newly announced virtual currency – “Coins”.  The new concept could be promotional in nature, or possibly used to Amazon’s benefit by promoting customer loyalty and/or reeling in app developers and locking them in to Amazon’s App Store platform.  Amazon Coins are a new virtual currency that consumers can use to purchase apps and games on the company’s flagship device, the Kindle Fire tablet.  The product will launch in May 2013 by which time, Amazon is expected to give away tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins in order to spur adoption of the new virtual currency.  Amazon has confirmed that consumers will not be compelled to use the Coins, and will still have the ability to pay for items in the Amazon Appstore store using their credit cards.  Still, we expect to see a pretty aggressive marketing campaign for the new product.

Here is how Amazon announced the product to developers:

“For customers, it’s an easy way to spend money on Kindle Fire apps and games. They’ll be able to purchase as they do now, but with the ability to choose to pay with a credit card or using Coins. For you, it’s another opportunity to drive traffic, downloads, and increased monetization. Plus, there’s no integration required–you’ll get paid the same 70% revenue share whether the customer chooses to use Coins or their own money.  To take advantage of this unique opportunity, you only need to do one thing: make sure your new apps and app updates are submitted and approved by April 25th so they’ll have the best chance of being available for Coins purchases at the launch of the program (and when we give customers their free Coins).”

Here is the Coins FAQ from Amazon:

Q: What are Amazon Coins?
Amazon Coins are a new virtual currency that customers will be able to use to purchase apps, games and in-app items on Kindle Fire.
Q: If a customer uses Amazon Coins to purchase my app, does that change how I am paid?
No. Developers receive the same royalty payments regardless of what payment method is used. One Amazon Coin is worth one cent, so if an app costs $2.99 it will cost 299 Amazon Coins. Once a user purchases the app using Amazon Coins, we will pay the developer his/her share of the $2.99 in dollars.
Q: What apps and games will be purchasable with Amazon Coins?
Customers will only be able to spend their Amazon Coins on apps and games that are available for sale on Kindle Fire. Apps and games that are available for sale on both Android and Kindle Fire, will also be purchasable with Amazon Coins.
Q: How do I make my digital items eligible to be purchased with Amazon Coins on
In order to make your digital items available for sale on Kindle Fire, simply upload your selection through our developer portal. As long as your app or game is available for sale on at least one member of the current Kindle Fire family, no additional work is required on your part to make your digital items purchasable with Amazon Coins.
Q: How do I let customers use Amazon Coins for in-app purchases?
Amazon Coins are simply another payment method honored by the in-app purchase flow. No additional work is required from developers who use the latest Amazon Mobile App SDK.
Q: Will Amazon Coins be awarded to International Customers when Amazon Coins is launched?
No, Amazon Coins will be awarded only to US customers at launch.
Q: Will International Customers be able to buy and spend Amazon Coins?
No. At launch only US customers will be able to buy and spend Amazon Coins.
Q: Can customers use their Amazon Coins to buy in-game currencies?
Yes. Customers will be able to purchase in-game currencies with Amazon Coins.
Q: Can subscriptions be purchased with Amazon Coins?
No. Customers will not be able to purchase any subscriptions with Amazon Coins.
Source: Amazon