There was not a lot of fanfare, but Amazon has stepped into the influencer game. Influencers are people with popular social media accounts on websites such as YouTube or Instagram. They are followed by large numbers of the public and therefore have an influence on those members. They put out content regularly that is highly viewed and commented on.
For quite some time YouTube has had a program that gives payments to those who are considered to be influencers on their site. They keep the program pretty secret and influencers are not even supposed to talk about how much they earn from the program. That being said, it is well known that some of the top channels on YouTube have influencers who are making a full-time living on the site. Some of those people have even made their career on YouTube.
There are several corporate partners for those top influencers. They may be asked to promote a certain product to their fans. It is pretty obvious shilling for one product or another, but viewers are happy to view it because they just love the content that their favorite influencers put out.
With all of this known, TechCrunch.com reports that Amazon has released their own influencer affiliate program. The program remains in Beta at the moment and has not generated a lot of press.
The program is not currently open to the public, but there are some who are getting to try it out. It is a program which could benefit those influencers to make more money and help Amazon as well to gain revenue from corporate partnerships and referrals to their own site to sell more products.
Amazon is currently only interested in those with large followings who meet several other metrics that they know about internally as well but are not releasing to the public.
Anyone can use the Amazon affiliate program for their websites on the Internet, but only a select number of people can use this new influencer program. It is basically a more exclusive form of the affiliate program. Perhaps some day this will change, but for now that is how it stands.