Why this very average-looking 'Amazon coat' is trending

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ÓRALE OROLAY
I know what you’re thinking, “another story about Amazon… really?” But this isn’t actually a story about Amazon, it’s about a coat that’s going viral that happens to be sold on Amazon.

There’s really nothing special about it -- the $140 coat is made by Orolay, a relatively obscure Chinese brand. And we’re no fashion experts, but we can comfortably say it looks like most other puffy winter coats. 

So why is this unremarkable Amazon coat the hottest fashion trend of 2019? (it has an Instagram account dedicated to it so you know it’s the real deal)
 

Let's talk about referral revenue

What all started with some fashionable women from the Upper East Side almost a year ago has transformed into a referral revenue gold mine.

Secret Sauce Glossary
Referral revenue: when you click a link on a website that navigates to a product on Amazon (or any other retailer) and you buy something, a portion of that sale goes back to the website where you originally clicked the link.

In a digital media world where revenue targets are getting harder to hit, referral marketing provides publishers with a revenue stream outside of advertising -- although the line between referral and advertising content has become increasingly difficult for readers to distinguish. 

Big Picture: The coat is an example of how publishers are manufacturing virality around certain products they have a financial interest in promoting. 


Riding Amazon’s coattails

The jacket now has more than 6,000 reviews and is the #16 overall best seller in clothing on Amazon. While publishers have surely benefitted from some referral kickbacks, the real winner is Orolay.

32-year-old Founder and CEO of Orolay Kevin Chiu told Reuters that the company’s sales in January (he estimates $5 million) topped the total they made all year in 2017 and they’re on pace for $30-$40 million in sales this year.
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Brendan Uyeshiro
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