Amazon Verified Purchase vs NFTs

Tokengating is a real-world NFT utility. Here's a short story explaining one use case as a specific example of a very powerful general e-commerce application of NFTs.

Amazon Verified Purchase vs NFTs
Photo by Ian Schneider / Unsplash

In conversations lately, I've come across a few people who've expressed the value of experience – in particular, the idea that something earned throught experience that one might take for granted, may not be obvious to everyone.

Of course we know this. Yet still it's useful to be reminded.

Along the same lines, everyone worth anything in B2B sales or marketing realizes that you need to express value in outcomes (what the prospect can achieve) rather than the features (all the great things about your product).

It's not always easy, especially if you're trying to tie outcomes directly back to the unique features of your offering (relative to the alternatives the prospect is considering).

NFTs, Tokengating, and Outcomes

There's a lot of FUD around NFTs. There are also different types of NFTs, so broadly classifying them as a scam is a mistake.

There's short story I want to tell with a couple of tweets from people I respect.

The last line there is the key:

"[...] don't care what gets built, I care about what things are enabled."

Which then brings me to a tweet that was deleted as the result of a hack, but I had a copy in email. Ben Bajarin is a great semiconductor analyst, but because he has teen girls, he also has a great point of view about online consumer behavior:

"Consumer product-centric communities are an interesting thing I'm noticing lately. People buy a product, join the FB group (etc) and stay engaged, learning, sharing, and more. Also, potential buyers join to help decide, and ask questions, before buying. Curious where this goes."

I saved Ben's tweet because it caught my attention relative to an NFT tokengating use case I've considered.

I purchase a product and get an NFT along with it. I might get this NFT as a way to prove ownership for warranty purposes or as a way to prove the a product is authentic. There are more reasons why this might happen, but these are simple enough to understand.

Imagine that I buy a product and get an NFT. Then, I login to one of these communities Ben mentions with my wallet and everyone there knows that I'm an authentic owner of the product being discussed.

I've kept these two tweets from Ben and Benedict because they both distill things down in ways that I'm simply not concise enough to do. But, it was only this morning that I realized the third bit of information that would complete this story.

Amazon verified purchaser comments.

Go on Amazon and look at comments. Amazon verifies purchases as a way to improve the quality of comments. I think it's obvious that a verified purchaser comment is more valuable than one that's not verified.

But... of course, Amazon purchase verification is all inside Amazon's walled-garden. You have to buy on Amazon and Amazon is the "central authority" for verifying people (I wonder if there are similarities to Twitter blue-checks here...).

This means that I can't use that verification on Facebook or Discord or WhatsApp where product discussions might also be happening.

Brands and Community

Let's summarize:

Ben Bajarin suggests that there's a online community trend for people to engage around products, both pre- and post-purchase.

Amazon has demonstrated the value of verified purchaser engagement.

The problem is that using Amazon is a walled-garden, and verification doesn't leave the premises.

NFTs change this.

If a company issues an NFT with a digital product (as BCware enables for Shopify and others), it enables "verified comments" but removes the gatekeeper / walled garden limitations.

Benedict Evans rightly suggests, it's not about what gets built... who cares about NFTs and Blockchains?... it's about what gets enabled... doing what Amazon has done with "verified purchaser" comments, but for the entire e-commerce internet.

Brands can enable their community of buyers to become brand ambassadors with a portable (across the internet) verified proof of purchase.

I can't wait to see what this enables.