Amazon reportedly wants news publishers to expand internationally — and its willing to pay

Amazon HQ
The view from inside an Amazon building in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Amazon wants to pay some of the biggest names in American publishing to expand internationally.

That’s according to Vox’s Peter Kafka. Sources tell him that Amazon has pitched the New York Times and BuzzFeed on its plan.

What Amazon gets out of it: Amazon’s goal is to expand its reach internationally through affiliate links. The company is already a dominant player in e-commerce in the U.S. but wants to grow abroad. It could benefit from American publishers establishing a bigger presence in other countries, then directing those readers to Amazon.

How it works: Affiliate links help publishers get some extra revenue and online retailers reach new customers. News sites, like the New York Times’ Wirecutter, link to products they mention in content using special links. If a customer clicks and then purchases items, the seller gives the publisher a percentage of the cash.

Note this: Affiliate links have helped publishers offset some of their ad revenue lost to tech giants like Google and Facebook. But the kind of arrangement Amazon is discussing with publishers is unusual. Rather than simply paying a cut of sales to news sites, Amazon would, theoretically, fund their expansions in new markets in the hopes of getting a return on the investment later.