April 21, 2004, 12:00 AM

Amazon relying more on web services to build merchant connections

Amazon is aggressively moving into web services technology to make it easier for its merchant alliance partners to not only link to Amazon.com but also to gather and analyze product and pricing information from its databases.

True to the vision started by founder Jeff Bezos to leverage the unique properties of the Internet, Amazon is aggressively moving into web services technology to make it easier for its merchant alliance partners to not only link to Amazon.com but also to gather and analyze product and pricing information from its databases, Jeff Barr, Amazon’s technical program manager for web services, tells Internet Retailer..

"Before web services, if associates wanted to link to Amazon products, they had to go through laborious product searches, construct a URL to link back to our site, and download data," Barr says. "Now they can use web services to automatically query Amazon.com to find relevant products for particular categories they want linked to their sites. And they get richer information, like product descriptions and prices set by all sellers of that product on Amazon."

Web services use open Internet-based standards like XML to build software tools that can automatically retrieve and transfer data among software programs and databases, even disparate ones.

Barr notes that thousands of programmers have downloaded Amazon’s free web services developer’s kit for building such tools. Development firms such as SellerEngine.com and Monsoon LLC use Amazon web services to develop tools that help retailers link more easily to Amazon and pull and analyze data.

Monsoon, for instance, is helping retailers who sell products on Amazon’s multiple international sites to automatically gather data that show how well products sell at different price points in different markets, says Kanth Gopalpur, president of Monsoon. "Many companies are afraid to provide access to their back-end data, but Amazon sees not potential harm but the benefit of bringing data to customers," he says. "It can make the customer experience a lot better."

 

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