How I knew Amazon Australia wasn’t in Australia (yet)

This evening, Australia’s online shopping enthusiasts were taken on a wild goose chase with the allure that Amazon was finally launching in Australia (previous rumours placed it in Q3 2017).

It started with GIZMODO Australia’s reporting (4:20pm) of the new @amazon_au Twitter account, tweeting at 4:05pm:

The editor didn’t proclaim this was a real account (just reported on the fact that it looked official) and reached out to the local Amazon PR representatives across its other local (and confirmed) business verticals (Video, Kindle, Audible, AWS) to confirm. Unfortunately the PRs didn’t get back to him.

When I first saw this at 10:30pm tonight, I actually thought it was the real deal! But upon investigating, I concluded that it was a fake account for several reasons (but secretly hoped I was wrong).

But first, why the account seemed credible (and fooled a lot of Australian enthusiastic online shoppers):

1. The Twitter handle and image were similar to the corporate global Twitter account that Amazon global has (GIZMODO Australia goes into the additional detail)

2. @amazon_au followed several verified Amazon Twitter accounts, GIZMODO Australia editor, Campbell Simpson (@csimps0n), and even went as far as to follow Global PR firm, Weber Shandwick (Amazon’s PR agency on record) which I admit, was a nice touch (and something that Amazon’s local Prime Now social team also did when it launched (whom have now been unfollowed)).

3. When you looked to reset the password to the Twitter account, the email used to sign up looked official (originally it was a gmail account (as noted by Andrew Harvey at @mootpointer) but the account creator was smart and quick enough to purchase a domain and created a formal-looking email address).

4. And finally, and more importantly, we all desperately wanted Amazon to open its doors in Australia for its cheaper wares and not tease us with offerings of written and spoken books, cloud infrastructure, and fast cars through its SVOD service. This was probably the biggest aspect which made us believe that it was finally here, hit that retweet button and tell all our friends about what we uncoered.

The things that were suss:

1. I assumed that the email address would either be “aust@amazon.com” or “aunz@amazon.com” given the asterisks wild card operator that filled in the gaps. I got bouncebacks from both emails

2. Following @csimps0n as the only journalist was a great way to get the fake Amazon Australia account noticed by the right technology crowd which would get noticed by the mainstream media which would then snowball. Unfortunately the account holder should not have tweeted at 4pm, rather, wait till the morning / early afternoon when more journalists are at work.

3.  From my background in marketing and PR, I know that any social media manager launching a huge brand like Amazon down under would work with Twitter Australia to verify its account before tweeting anything out. Additionally, its social presence would be supported by media articles and if not that, at least a Facebook webpage.

40 minutes later, at 11:10pm, I called it:

At 11:30pm the troll unmasked himself:

Whoever the troller is, he or she admitted they “didn’t think it would snowball so fast”.

Whoever you are, well done. Well done for reminding us that Amazon isn’t here in Australia yet :'(

But fortunately, for all you online shopping and Alexa enthusiasts, it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Amazon currently has 100+ jobs open in Australia (albeit most of them are AWS-related) with one being advertised for AmazonFresh, Amazon’s fresh grocery and local products delivery service.

Until then… here’s a pic of Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, looking a little too happy piloting a giant mechanical robot:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *