Web Services

by Mike Masnick

Alexa Decides It Wants To Be The Platform

from the about-frickin'-time dept

It's still quite amazing that the various search engines haven't been more aggressive in opening up their APIs to encourage people to build on their platform. Hooking developers into your platform is a great way to grow -- yet so many companies fear losing control. Google and Yahoo do have some APIs, but there have often been complaints about just how stingy they are. It looks like Amazon-owned Alexa is trying to shake things up a bit by really opening up their search platform and making it wide open. The Wall Street Journal gives the basic backstory, while John Battelle wonders about the domino effects of this move. While Alexa's search isn't nearly as comprehensive as others, the additional metadata it includes about various sites could be useful for certain types of applications. It seems unlikely that this will be nearly as revolutionary as some are making it out to be, but hopefully it will nudge some of the search players into realizing that they can be much more powerful by turning themselves into platforms rather than destinations.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Sv, Dec 13th, 2005 @ 2:25am


    And what's the biz model in just wide open API-s without driving back traffic again?

    Or it is that money appear out of thin air when you "do not evil".


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

  2. icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 13th, 2005 @ 2:44am

    Re: Logic?

    And what's the biz model in just wide open API-s without driving back traffic again?

    The WSJ article notes how one of the first apps using the Alexa system is driving sales through Amazon. That seems like a good way to make more money by Amazon.

    Also, the API has charges associated with it. The prices are low and only are triggered at high usage levels.

    There are plenty of ways to make money, but the real trick is longevity -- and you do that by becoming the platform. Any company that can't figure out a way to monetize being a platform has bigger problems. :)

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

  3. identicon
    Texan, Dec 13th, 2005 @ 7:09am

    Re: Logic?

    Over the past decade, we have seen one internet company after another offer free goodies just so you would continue to use their brand at every turn. Chief among these companies were the powerhouses of search.

    Just as a couple quick examples: AIM, GoogleEarth, etc. There are probably dozens of examples if you looked, and many of them have no completely-obvious method to monetize from them, at least to me.

    Regardless, they probably still monetize from them in some way that I'm not familiar with and, in addition, after a decade of use in some cases they continue to be staples of a high percentage of internet users (as in the case of AIM and other IM clients).

    The poor implementations of search API's up to this point, I believe, has little to do with the challenge of making money off those efforts and are in large part due to something else.

    Search is such an insanely powerful feature of the internet, that I hope that the search engines do open up their API's. I believe that everyone, both the general public and the companies, will benefit from the move.

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

  4. identicon
    Elzeard, Dec 13th, 2005 @ 8:41am


    I know this isn't Billy Joel's Alexa.
    Aside from her, the only Alexa I've come across is consistantly identified as some type of MalWare attached to IE6.
    That's enough to get me to stay away from Alexa of any sort (as if A.J. was Ever going to call).

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

  5. identicon
    Geekwitch, Dec 13th, 2005 @ 10:15am

    Re: Logic?

    Phase 1 - build search engine

    Phase 2 - ???

    Phase 3 - PROFIT!

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.