Amazon Spark is a shopping social network for iOS

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Over the years Amazon has spread its wings in various directions, and the latest venture sees the online shopping giant dipping its toe into the waters of social networking. While not strictly a social network, Amazon Spark has many of the hallmarks of one.

Borrowing heavily from Instagram and Pinterest — among others — Amazon Spark is available for Prime subscribers using iOS. There is, of course, a strong emphasis on shopping, and members are able to post photos of items for sale, and can click through to buy, post comment, and leave “smiles” — Spark’s take on likes.

The idea is for Amazon Spark to be used by Prime members rather than sellers looking to push products at potential customers. In many ways it supplements the comments that appear on product listings. Amazon’s own introduction says: “Amazon Spark is a place to discover things from people who share your interests. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for home décor or seeking advice for the best long-distance running shoes, Spark makes it easy to discover — and shop — stories and ideas from a community that likes what you like.”

But Amazon is trying to make Spark appear to be about more than just building up communities that are about more than just shopping. The company is encouraging people to share stories about the products they have bought, and ideas about how they can be used. But at its heart, shopping is what Amazon is about, and the company is clearly hoping that by creating a Facebook-like platform, the sense of community this generates will translate into more sales.

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If you are an iOS user, just make sure that you have the latest version of the Amazon app installed and you’ll find Spark in the menu under Programs and Features.

Find out more on the Amazon Spark website.

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