10 Amazon Features That You Probably Didn't Know Existed

Amazon’s been in the news a lot lately, what with its launch of Amazon Pantry and #AmazonCart, its deal with HBO for Prime Instant Video content, a new smartphone launching in a few months, and rumours of an upcoming in-house delivery service.

Sure, you can use Amazon for shopping and watching movies and TV, but there’s also a bunch of other features that you might not know about.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

If you get invited to become an Amazon Vine reviewer, you'll get free stuff from companies to review.

Vine is Amazon's invitation-only club for a small percentage of elite reviewers. Every month, Amazon sends selected Vine reviewers a list of products. Each person can select two products to review at a time, and they can keep those items as long as they provide a review within 30 days. Amazon insists that reviews don't have to be positive.

Learn more about Amazon Vine.

You can use Mechanical Turk to crowd-source 'human intelligence tasks' -- like identifying photos -- to people all over the world.

Mechanical Turk basically gives users access to an on-demand workforce, and it gives people who want to make a little extra money a way to find quick-and-easy online labour. Here's some examples from the site: you can get paid $US0.04 per picture to find images of specified real estate agents or $US0.02 to copy text from a picture of a business card.

Here's a link to Mechanical Turk.

If you live in New York, Seattle or London, you can use Amazon Locker to get your packages dropped off at secure location while you're at work.

For people who work all day and don't want to get personal packages delivered to the office yet can never make it to the post office before it closes, Locker is a godsend.

Lockers are often in 24-hour facilities -- like 7-Elevens -- and when you go to pick up your package you just have to enter a code that was texted or emailed to you to get it.

Check out Amazon Locker.

If you shop with Amazon Smile, the company will donate a percentage of your total order to a charity of your choice at no extra cost to you.

Tens of millions of items are available for purchase through Amazon Smile. The site donates 0.5% of purchases to the charity that you choose.

Learn more about Amazon Smile.

Amazon Flow lets you take a picture of a product on your smartphone to automatically add it to an Amazon shopping list.

With recent initiatives like Amazon Dash and #AmazonCart, the company is trying to get buyers to spend more by making shopping as easy and seamless as possible. Flow -- which is available as a standalone app and integrated with Amazon's iPhone app -- lets you find items you want on Amazon without having to type anything or scan a bar code.

Check out Flow here.

You can read through thousands of questions (and answers) about anything and everything on Amazon's Askville site. Amazon no longer keeps the site active, though, so you can't ask or answer new questions.

Although Amazon disabled the ability to ask and answer questions in 2013, Askville is still a huge repository of (often amusing) information.

It's similar to Yahoo! Answers in that some questions are serious, while others ('Is this the Loch Ness monster?') are clearly just for fun.

Here's a link to Askville.

You can get a book published in Amazon's Kindle store less than 24 hours after submitting it through Kindle Direct Publishing.

If you're an author who has written a book but doesn't know anything about publishing, you can get your book out there for free with Kindle Direct Publishing. You can set any price that you want for your book but Amazon will keep 30% of all royalties.

Learn more about Kindle Direct Publishing here.

You can share your Amazon Prime account with up to five people.

Amazon Prime accounts cost $US99, but you won't have to buy your own if you have a friend who feels like sharing. From Amazon.com, navigate to Your Account > Manage your Prime account
, where you can then invite up to five people who will be able to share the shipping benefits (though not the access to Instant Video). Those invited will have to enter the Prime account holder's birthday to confirm that they know them.

BONUS: You used to be able to use a feature called Diamond Search to buy individual stones on the site based on their carat, shape and colour.

Back in the mid-2000s, Amazon really amped up its jewelry business. For several years, Amazon let customers design their own rings on the website, and would then make them in its Kentucky fulfillment center. Diamond Search was an aspect of that.

The company also had a contract with celebrity Paris Hilton that had her selling her jewelry designs exclusively on Amazon.

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