Tonight was the first meeting in a couple months and I’m glad the group is back. The focus of the discussion was Web Services from Amazon. Jeff Bar, the webservices evangelist, started the talk with a 10min presentation. He then moved on to syndic8.com, a personal project of his.
The focus of the amazon portion of the talk was on the affiliate program. Amazon makes money on the sales of items that have been passed through by an affiliate’s web site, while the affiliate takes a commision from the sale. The main take home was that Amazon understands that the more locations that postings for it’s items live the better it does. There are some issues with fighting fraud, but the program is generally a success.
Also, the Alexa division announced yesterday that it was offering much of its services over the web as well. No data on usage yet since it’s brand new. The main difference was that this was going to a fee based service. After an initial period it’s $.15 / 1000 requests.
While Amazon definitely should be praised for leading the way in webservices and they’re making a big deal about the web2.0 nature of some of the things people are doing with the service, I still have questions. What type of SLA is amazon providing with these services? If it is no longer in Amazon’s best interest to offer these services it will be difficult for a business that has built on top of them to continue.
I believe that this latest web2.0 hype isn’t really anything new from a business sense. Companies have been partnering for a very long time. The technology has just advanced to the point that it is much easier to create something valuable out of a partnership with very little work or time. This does not reduce the need for businesses that are building products around these partnerships to hammer out details and concerns.