Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Can Web 2.0 Mashups Survive When Lawyers Show Up? Amazon Sues Alexaholic/Statsaholic

from the you-don't-sue-your-best-promoters dept

We've been confused by Amazon's decision to turn against Alexaholic, a site that made Amazon's Alexa data a lot more useful. While the trademark issue was sort of understandable (though, even that could be challenged), once the site changes its name to Statsaholic, it seems like Amazon shouldn't have any problems with the site. That's why folks were left scratching their heads when they blocked the site and started threatening it. Earlier this week at the Web 2.0 Expo, Tim O'Reilly challenged Jeff Bezos on stage about how he could talk about Amazon's plan to power the web as a platform while shutting down the very sites that were making use of that platform. Bezos danced incredibly awkwardly around the question and it was unclear how much of the situation he understood. He kept falling back on the trademark issue, even though that wasn't the main issue at all. He finally said something suggesting that it was the Alexa group making a "business decision," but refused to explain how that view fits with Amazon's other statements about encouraging and enabling "web 2.0" type concepts. Apparently, part of the reason for Bezos awkwardness was that the company was in the process of suing Statsaholic, though it hadn't been announced yet. It's a bit bizarre that a service that Alexa's product manager had previously praised is now being attacked by the company for doing the same thing it was originally praised for doing. It's hard to see this as anything but sour grapes from Amazon for its own inability to build something as cool or as useful as Statsaholic. Normally, that would just be annoying -- but when the company is going around and pitching itself as being an enabler of web 2.0 infrastructure, it seems like this lawsuit has the potential to be incredibly damaging to Amazon's credibility in the space -- and that's absolutely going to hurt a lot more than some random site scraping free Alexa charts.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 11:13am

    Web 2.0 also includes a new way of thinking which also includes Community. This is just Bezos being a Butthead- dancing the dance, but not truly understanding community and collaboration aspects of Web 2.0.

    Keep dancing. Jeff. Keep dancing....

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

  2. icon
    JS Beckerist (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 11:22am

    they sue...

    They can sue to put the owners out of money, then immediately scoop it up at a hugely reduced rate!

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

  3. identicon
    Michael McMannus, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 11:23am

    Next casualty for amazon

    It's Amazon trying to protect their IP, but website consumers want information.

    If I cant find what Im looking for I'll go elsewhere, like to Statsaholic. Bezos lost in the music delivery business to iTunes a few months ago, and Steve Jobs said he wants to overtake Target next. Ironic that Target's website is hosted by Amazon.

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

  4. identicon
    AccentureGuy, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 11:33am

    Classic example of...

    what happens when your company is run by lawyers, consulting groups! You quit innovating, and start restricting.

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

  5. icon
    Nick (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 11:46am

    FUD peddling lawyers

    Clearly, the lawyer's think their own business plan trumps their clients business plans.Clearly, the lawyer's think their own business plan trumps their client’s business plans. This is the second time lawyers have tried to interfere with a major web 2.0 innovation (O'Reilly lawyers going after other conferences organizers calling themselves web 2.0).

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

  6. identicon
    Tom O'Leary, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 12:15pm

    The Business of Web 2.0

    Sad really. But this is the business of Web 2.0. This piece inspired my rant posted just now (link below):

    The Business of Web 2.0

    Great insights that provoke questions about the reality of Web 2.0

    All the best


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

  7. identicon
    Kurt Roberts, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 12:50pm

    Ask big brother first!

    I used to work for "one of those" companies, that couldn't make a decision without the okay from a consulting firm.

    The sad thing was that they pretty much ran the company, and no employee would claim ownership, etc. It was a very depressing working environment.

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

  8. identicon
    John, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 5:32pm


    What makes this so ironic and just plain retarded is that while Amazon is bullying statsaholic, they are running around pitching this Web 2.0 web services platform shit.

    So what happens if Amazon succeeds and everyone uses their stuff? They will just start bullying everyone who is tied to their platform.

    Screw 'em.

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

  9. identicon
    lisa, Nov 2nd, 2009 @ 2:54am

    Hi! I have seen many such websites that provide competitive analysis for free. My personal favourite is . It seems to generate very accurate traffic information, too.

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

  10. identicon
    Ronald, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 1:20am

    I would like to suggest you my favorite tools - is a web site statistics and web analytics service. Here you can find the amount of visitors, pagerank, indexed pages, view Alexa and Compete graphs and other additional information about every single page on the web.

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

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