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Jeff Bezos & Co. want you to give away stuff from Amazon’s catalog of products.

Amazon is unveiling a new service this morning called Amazon Giveaway — promising to simplify and streamline the process of running promotional contests online.

amazongiveawayThe self-service tool is designed for companies, groups, bloggers and others that want to use giveaways to grow their followings and reward their customers and audience. Features include the ability to require contestants to follow the contest organizer on Twitter to be eligible for a chance to win a prize.

Amazon says the idea is to “modernize the time-tested radio giveaway” — although, if that’s truly the case, they’ll need to figure out how to offer concert tickets, as well.

The e-commerce giant’s move promises to make waves in a market populated by smaller competitors, including sites such as Rafflecopter, Splurgy, PunchTab and others.

Amazon Giveaway lets organizers pick an eligible item from Amazon’s catalog, and then set the terms of the contest — including the number of items to give away, and the process for choosing winners. Organizers can run contests as first-come, first served, or “lucky number” giveaways that award a prize to every set number, such as every 25th entrant.

Contestants click on a virtual Amazon box to see if they’ve won a prize. Amazon accounts are used to verify user identity and prevent duplicate entries.

Contest organizers — “hosts,” as Amazon calls them — pay for the giveaway items, tax and shipping, but Amazon handles everything on the back-end, leveraging its e-commerce and fulfillment infrastructure. The company says there’s no additional fee for organizers. Amazon also handles the process of income tax documentation for prizes of a certain size.

There’s an obvious benefit for Amazon with the launch of this tool, helping the company sell more stuff, but this could also appeal to many companies and groups interested in running contests, by simplifying what can be a surprisingly complicated process.

Here’s the official Amazon Giveaway FAQ with details for organizers.

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