Maybe Amazon Doesn't Want To Be The Web Platform

from the internal-divisions dept

For some time, Amazon has been trying to position itself as not just a web retailer, but a web platform as well. The company has come out with a number of services that allow third parties to rent out storage and computing power, which is something the company should be commended for. But apparently this strategy isn't pervasive throughout the company. Amazon's Alexa unit, which tries (poorly, some might argue) to track web traffic, has been embroiled in a spat with the site Statsaholic, which until recently was called Alexaholic. Statsaholic's strategy was to take Alexa's data and present it in a matter that's far more usable than the way Alexa presents it. TechCrunch has a nice writeup of the history between the two parties, but the gist is that Amazon seemed to tolerate, or even encourage, Alexaholic, until it built all of Alexaholic's functionality into its own site, at which point it went on the attack. First it went after the company's domain name, Alexaholic.com, which was arguably infringing on Alexa's trademark. Then Amazon blocked off access to its graphs and data, effectively disabling the renamed Statsaholic. While Amazon may have felt that it was in its legal rights to block off third-party use of its graphs, it's still not clear how it benefits from the move. Hasn't Amazon seen the success of other companies that allow their data and content to be repurposed on other sites? It's a particularly perplexing move from a company that claims to want to be the web platform. Instead of blocking off Statsaholic, it ought to have figured out a way to profit from this arrangement. But when lawyers are guiding a company's strategy, it can't expect much in the way of creative solutions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2007 @ 3:49pm

    Suck

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    oden, Mar 31st, 2007 @ 3:45pm

    How dumb

    This really makes me think twice about using S3 and EC2. Is Amazon going to use the information to determine which innovative web start-ups are taking off using their infrastructure, then turn around and shut them down and launch competiting web services?

    Actually, haven't they already done this with Mechanical Turk? Maybe it doesn't matter cause the Turk thing isn't doing as well as EC2 to S3.

    Dumb Dumb Dumb strategy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Joseph Bruno, Apr 1st, 2007 @ 7:53am

    Yes, S3 is contractually unsafe

    Remember that as an S3 user you have no rights at all: Amazon have the right to censor your content and demand that you decrypt anything that you have encrypted, so that they can decide whether to censor it. Or they may not bother to demand: "If your Application is determined (for any reason or no reason at all, in our sole discretion) to be unsuitable for Amazon Web Services, we may suspend your access to Amazon Web Services or terminate this Agreement at any time, without notice."

    See this blog entry in the Tunesafe blog series for more details of why no serious business can risk basing itself on Amazon S3.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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