AmazonSmile, which is open to shoppers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, is a separate portal through which consumers can log in with their Amazon credentials and shop for millions of products as usual, though with notable omissions, such as Kindle books. But the main difference is that Amazon makes a donation of 0.5 percent of the product price to a charity of your choosing. The donations are made through the AmazonSmile Foundation and are presumably tax deductible for Amazon.
To mark the $100 million milestone and the five-year anniversary of the program, Amazon said it will increase its donations ten-fold from today until November 2.
This news is the latest in a long line of initiatives designed to position Amazon as a good citizen amidst a hurricane of negative headlines. Earlier this month, the company revealed it was raising its minimum wage in the U.S. to $15 per hour after a spate of stories detailed how its workers apparently skipped bathroom breaks to keep on top of their work. It has also received unfavorable attention for fighting tooth and nail to stop its workers from unionizing.
And earlier this year, Amazon strenuously opposed a new tax on large employers, eventually forcing Seattle to reverse course. A few months later, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos revealed he was donating $2 billion to help homeless families and launch preschools for low-income households.
AmazonSmile fits firmly in that broader PR push: Amazon wants people to know that while Wall Street holds the trillion-dollar company in high esteem, it still cares about people too.