Openness at Amazon

Technology Review shows how Amazon use transparancy and openness by giving away most of their product data:

The strategy behind Amazon Web Services is to give programmers virtually unlimited access to the very foundation of Amazon’s business its product database. whether they are inside or outside the company’s walls. Developers can grab product data, reformat it, add related services, and use it to attract eyeballs to their own sites. If they feel like it, they’re even free, like Taylor, to create parallel-universe Amazons that have the added features they crave. Amazon demands only one thing in return: that visitors to these satellite sites complete any purchases through Amazon.com itself. The site owners, meanwhile, earn a decent commission on each sale.

Exposing the world’s largest product database – along with the editorial content and personalization functions that make Amazon.com so uncannily useful – is such a counterintuitive business strategy that analogies are hard to come by.

Amazon:
* Has very little control over what people choose to do with their data
* May ultimately loose web traffic to other sites using that data
* Also allow competitors access to the same data

And they see a critical business advantage in this “naked” approach. Yay!

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