April 13, 2011, 3:55 PM

Amazon seeks employees for its new ad products group

The job listings signal that the retailer may move into display advertising, an analyst says.

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Amazon.com Inc. wants to fill a handful of positions for its newly formed ad products group, according to job listings on Amazon.com. The details of the job descriptions indicate that Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is preparing to aggressively compete in selling online display advertising, says Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Equities Research.  He says he has spotted at least 11 job postings for the group.

The jobs listings—for software development engineers, product managers, research managers and more—describe the company’s success with display ads on its own sites and say “Amazon itself is making significant investments in display advertising across the web.” The listings read: “We plan to build next generation advertising products by leveraging Amazon's world-class personalization technologies, unparalleled customer data and engaging video content.”

Amazon.com did not respond to requests for comment.

 “The company likely plans to use its massive consumer data and emerging ad-targeting capabilities to raise eCPMs for online display advertising across its own sites, and importantly, third-party sites,” Schachter writes in a research brief. The term eCPMs refer to the cost per thousand, a common audience measure by which online ad prices are set. For example, a display ad vendor will charge a flat rate per one thousand times web users view an online ad.

While it’s unclear how exactly Amazon will make its mark on the online display market, Schachter says there’s no reason why Amazon couldn’t become a major player in a landscape that includes Google, Yahoo, ValueClick and, increasingly, Facebook. “Should Amazon execute and increase its advertising presence on non-Amazon-owned third-party sites, it could disrupt other established third-party display ad networks,” he says.

Amazon is also the No. 1 retailer in the Top 300 Europe Guide.

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