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Amazon Hacks For Fun and Money 249

An anonymous reader writes "There's a new BusinessWeek article looking at some of the cool hacks coming out of Amazon's open API and XML feed policy. Some nifty stuff - 27,000 developers have apparently signed up to build hacks on Amazon data. It seems '..most are only part-timers and hobbyists, but a growing number are serious programmers who seek to make a living selling products based on the data Amazon is offering on a silver platter.'"
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Amazon Hacks For Fun and Money

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  • by jefflinwood ( 20955 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:37PM (#6299982) Homepage
    O'Reilly is publishing a book on these Amazon Hacks in August, to go with Mac OS X Hacks, Linux Server Hacks, Google Hacks, and Tivo Hacks (upcoming).
    It's mentioned in the article, but this is slashdot....

    Amazon Hacks []

  • amazon's strategy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tancred ( 3904 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:45PM (#6300011)
    They've known for the last couple years at least (at least since that's how long I've known insiders) that selling their own merchandise would be a small part of their long term strategy. It did get them the infrastructure, though. After that came the hosting of other large e-commerce sites. Now they're recruiting an army of channel sales / resellers. Very smart people over there. Wish they'd stop patenting business processes though.
  • Re:How long until... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:48PM (#6300040)

    I suspect it's already been done. A quick USPTO search on "software and price and comparison and internet" yields over 1000 results.

    Side note: How can a patent with over 20 references be considered new and innovative? Seriously, that's not genius or inspiration, it's adding 1+1. Looking through the software patents, it's a joke that most of them got granted - the Cheif Patent Officer must be Obvious Guy.

  • by wherley ( 42799 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:55PM (#6300064)
    Gold-Stores [] seems to use the XML interface to allow the user to shop seamlessly at Amazon yet use payment mechanisms, such as Moneybookers, e-gold, E-bullion, Pecunix, and EvoCash, that Amazon does not directly accept.

  • by jamestedrick ( 681552 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:10AM (#6300131) Homepage
    Actually, the creator retains the property, according to Amazon's Web Services Licensing Agreement [] (Section 2). If you submit any info to Amazon (like "in use" shots of products), they are given an irrevocable license to use.
  • Compare it to Ebay (Score:4, Informative)

    by dmoynihan ( 468668 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:10AM (#6300135) Homepage
    Whose API charges beacoup fees [], and makes it pretty much impossible to, say, write an open source shopping cart [] that'll sync with Ebay auctions (for the 10-50,000 people that sell on ebay and our own sites and might want to keep track of stock).

    They (meaning idiot analysts for the most part) always say the real battle is between Ebay and Amazon for the future of online commerce. Amazon's got the right idea here, at least when it comes to getting their brand out free. Too bad it costs so much to list...

  • Are they still... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dafoomie ( 521507 ) <dafoomie&hotmail,com> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:13AM (#6300144) Homepage
    Are they still doing different prices for different regions? If so, can you check out the prices for each of the different regions with this?
  • Perl (Score:5, Informative)

    by pirodude ( 54707 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:23AM (#6300188)
    Any perl programmers looking to play around with this should checkout the Net::Amazon module.
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:42AM (#6300250) Journal
    Clutter [] from Sprote Research. It does live cover lookups of CD's playing in iTunes from Amazon's music site. Very cool and an easy way to find the cover art for CDs to put into your MP3 tag info.
  • by Yawning ( 684697 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:43AM (#6300251)

    It doesn't really cost anything to list on Amazon. When you start out as a seller you only pay Amazon a comission if you sell something. You can list as many items as you want for free.

    If you sell in volume then you pay 40$ a month to list and have access to inventory tools etc... If you would list on Ebay you would pay much more than 40$ a month in listing fee for the same volume of listings.

  • Re:Since when... (Score:5, Informative)

    by JesterXXV ( 680142 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:47AM (#6300262)
    Hacking implies that it is forbidden, agressive, or both.

    No, it doesn't. []

  • Re:Amazon (Score:2, Informative)

    by Discordantus ( 654486 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @12:51AM (#6300281)
    hmmm. busty and beautiful? An Amazon warrior? I suppose you don't realize that they lopped off their right breasts when they become warriors. Presumably to make archery easier...

    Well, I suppose some guys might think that's sexy.

  • by Tide ( 8490 ) <chad@chadsdo[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @01:04AM (#6300310) Homepage
    Quite frankly, they rock. Almost anything they sell is available and the team is flexible on what all you can do with it. Many of the developers offer their code as examples, and they have examples themselves in the 'kit' of just about any platform you want out there, from ASP to PHP, via SOAP or XLST. Here's my spin on it:

    DVD Jones []
    It's a DVD cataloging (and sharing) site that offers recommendations from Amazon filtering out what you already own.
  • Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA (Score:5, Informative)

    by forkboy ( 8644 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @01:40AM (#6300412) Homepage
    It's roughly based on the "humor" of 80's standup comic Yakov Smirnoff. He used that joke over and over. (In soviet russia, television watch YOU, etc) Then they made fun of that routine in an episode of Family Guy (the one that was on Cartoon Network tonight, coincedentally) then some /. nerd started saying it, and it stuck.

    That's about what I can piece together knowing what I do about slashdot, television, and bad 80's comedians.

  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:43AM (#6300571) Journal
    Excellent points. It's worth remembering the CDDB debacle in light of this.

    For those just awakening from a coma, CDDB started by encouraging people to voluntarily build up their database of music CD fingerprints. Then, when they had enough, they started charging people (developers, mainly) to access the data other people had collected for them. There's nothing keeping Amazon from letting people develop cool hacks over the next few years, then either turning off the service or modifying the terms to such an extent that noone uses it anymore, but using those hacks (developed by others) themselves.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @06:18AM (#6301061)
    Ever wanted to know the potential of XUL in Mozilla? Try here for the Mozilla Amazon Browser [].

    Mozilla also has support for various web services, SOAP, XML-RPC and more making it ideal to capitalize on burgeoning amount of raw data in XML sites such as Amazon are offering these days.

  • Re:How long until... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Togra ( 147102 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:04AM (#6302851)
    They get over 300,000 patent applications a year, so it'd require a hell of a lot of experts to properly analyse each one. The USPTO site claims they have 6000 employees, half of which are examiners.

    Can you, in lets say a day, read and understand any given patent (in your field of expertise) and all of its references, search for prior art (which you can prove was created before the application date and is significantly in common with the patent idea to classify as prior art), and prove to a quality acceptable in a court of law that the patent's idea is not original?

    Take one-click-shopping for example. Could you find and verify proof that there exists prior art (the results of a quick google aren't proof), or that the technology is obvious ("it's OBVIOUS to any coder!!!" isn't proof)?

    For the record I think the US patent system is a mess, I lament the steps my own country (Australia) takes towards the American way, I have a big problem with the current structure of IP in general (or rather the corruption of it), and while I don't have a solid stance on how software IP should be handled I certainly don't like what's going on at the moment. But opinions and righteous indignation stated on /. mean nothing, it's just preaching to the choir, the physical reality of the situation is that the current system is in place because big money likes it how it is, and politicians have no reason to change it until voter pressure arises or a big donator starts lobbying.

    Perhaps the most vocal slashdotters on this topic should join together, write a clear and concise statement/s on intellectual property as it relates to software (or the patent system as a whole), focussing on benefit to business, creators and the public as well as the original intent of the system, and then deliver it to all relevant politicians/officials. Perhaps include with it a list of all registered voters from /. and various other communities who are in support of the statement and will vote for any politician who will work towards making the changes it suggests.

    "Here is a list of X thousand voters in your region who will vote against you because of your damaging actions regarding IP" is the easiest way to get a politicians attention short of a large donation.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972