Back to the Future: Amazon lets Data Providers Charge for Access

January 6, 2009
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Jeremy Kirk reports in Computerworld that:

Amazon.com Inc. has rolled out a new option for its Simple Storage Service (S3) that lets data owners shift the cost of accessing their information to other people or entities.

This may not seem like a big deal; all they’re doing is offering data owners the opportunity to shift costs. But it strikes me as counter to the general industry trend, which is to offer all online information for free and make it

Jeremy Kirk reports in Computerworld that:

Amazon.com Inc. has rolled out a new option for its Simple Storage Service (S3) that lets data owners shift the cost of accessing their information to other people or entities.

This may not seem like a big deal; all they’re doing is offering data owners the opportunity to shift costs. But it strikes me as counter to the general industry trend, which is to offer all online information for free and make it up in the volume–I mean, in advertising revenue.

Will Amazon’s retro move overcome this inexorable trend? Perhaps not, but perhaps they don’t have to. It may be enough to capture a small segment of the market that is willing to have those who access data pay for it. And there’s certainly a lot of opportunity for such a model in the B2B space.

Personally, I’m hopeful at any sign that someone is seriously pursuing a non-free business model for content access. Once upon a time, that was a cultural norm, and it’s not clear that the “information wants to be free” approach has done much to preserve the value of information. Perhaps Amazon is just tilting at windmills, but I’m hoping that the 2008 CTO of the Year knows what he’s doing.

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