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Amazon Starts Reminding Shoppers That Its Charity Program Still Exists

AmazonSmile should see a boost from the company's new messages to customers.

Charity: Water
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

When Amazon announced in the fall that it would start donating 0.5 percent of some customer purchases to a charity of the shopper’s choice, it was a reason for many nonprofits to rejoice.

But the program, dubbed AmazonSmile, included one big hurdle to adoption: Would-be do-gooders needed to start their shopping at the Web address instead of Amazon’s regular homepage.

Some people I know have bookmarked the new Web address to try to make it easier to remember to shop through the right site. Others have installed a browser add-on that automatically redirects them to AmazonSmile when they navigate to Amazon’s regular site.

Still, it seems likely that just as many people at some point made it to AmazonSmile, but have since forgotten altogether about its existence. Amazon continues to advertise the site on its social network accounts and occasionally in email messages to customers, but who knows how many customers actually see those messages.

Last week, Amazon introduced a more direct reminder to its shoppers: The message below popped up on my screen when I went to make a purchase on

AmazonSmile reminder pop-up message

The one catch is that the message will only show up for people who have already visited AmazonSmile at least once and selected a charitable organization for Amazon to direct donations to. So it won’t do any good for Amazon shoppers who don’t know about the program at all.

Since I had previously selected Doctors Without Borders on AmazonSmile, Amazon placed that message in front of me. And it has been enough of a reminder that I haven’t made the same mistake when I’ve made a couple of purchases since then.

Whether the new reminder technique leads to significant growth in the AmazonSmile program is an open question. But it’s definitely an improvement.

This article originally appeared on