Amazon Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
By Dale Farris, Secretary
Golden Triangle PC Club
Mention the word "Amazon" today and most people will not necessarily think of the largest river in the world, especially the very young. The common perception of Amazon.com is that it is a web-based bookstore, but like its namesake river, Amazon.com is much more than merely a place to buy books.
Today, Amazon.com is really a complex web application. Instead of just a place to buy various items, Amazon.com is a tool you can customize and adapt to your own uses. This includes participating in the Amazon community, earning money through Amazon's Marketplace and Associates Programs, as well as improving the way you interact with the site.
This latest addition to O'Reilly's very successful Hacks series shows readers of every level how to tap into the power that Amazon offers. Through these industrial-strength tips and tools, readers will learn how to get the most out of Amazon.com.
Over Amazon's lifetime, the company has invested $900 million in technology. Though Amazon.com is more often thought of as an online "shop," today the company is really a highly advanced technology company. More and more, Amazon.com is in the business of providing technology to other businesses, as well as their customers. For example, 30% of Amazon's business is from third-party sales. This means other businesses, and sometimes even competitors are making money through Amazon.com.
In this super new "Hacks" title, we have a call to all true hackers out there to innovate on the platform. By lowering barriers to entry and experimentation on top of the Amazon platform, true hackers are invited to extend and enhance the platform for all to enjoy.
There are tools and tips here that will appeal to a wide variety of audiences, including online shoppers, web site owners, sellers of products, and software developers. Readers are also encouraged to remember that some of the hacks in the book will continue to evolve. You can always find the current ingredients for any serious software development, the Amazon.com API, at www.amazon.com/webservices.
When Amazon.com first opened its virtual doors on July 16, 1995, it was one of several online booksellers. As Amazon embraced the technology to categorize and display millions of books in one space, people embraced the ability to search for and purchase books in a new way. The experience of building a successful business based on an open system like the Web has influenced Amazon throughout its history.
Amazon has consistently pushed the technology envelope in their quest to provide a satisfying, personalized experience for their customers. What started as a human-edited list of product recommendations has morphed into a sophisticated computer-generated recommendation engine that tailors product choices for tens of millions of individuals by analyzing their purchase history and the patterns of other Amazon customers. As the Web evolved into a two-way space for discussion and community, Amazon developed features that let anyone post information and advice about products.
With this intriguing history, it should not have been a surprise when on July 16, 2002 Amazon released a free Web Services interface that gave developers programmatic access to Amazon's vast collection of product and customer data. With this interface, Amazon combined their core features of recommendations, affiliate marketing, and marketplace commerce into a single technology platform that can be used to build applications and businesses.
"Amazon Hacks" is not intended to be merely an exhaustive explanation of Amazon's features. Instead it's intended to highlight some lesser-known features, show some tricks for working with Amazon efficiently, and document ways to access Amazon programmatically. Developers are already creating new features for Amazon through the Amazon API, and it is this book's intent to convey some of their creativity and excitement, inspiring the hacker in you.
Summary of Table of Contents
The 100 Amazon hacks are organized into 6 chapters, including the following:
1 - Browsing and Searching
2 - Controlling Your Information
3 - Participating in the Amazon Community
4 - Selling Through Amazon
5 - Associates Program
6 - Amazon Web Services
Key Topics Covered
This book will show you how to do the following:
Find just the product you are after among the millions available at Amazon
Access, control, and fine-tune your Amazon preferences, recommendations, and information
Participate in the growing Amazon community and integrate Amazon features into your own Web site
Become and Amazon Associate, develop your own online storefront, and hone your recommendations for better linking and higher referral fees
Sell products online using Amazon's billing, inventory, and marketing infrastructure
Build full-scale desktop and server applications on Amazon's Web Services API
304 pages; foreword by the Amazon technology team; preface; figures; tips; sample scripts; index; cover colophon
About the Author
Paul Bausch is an accomplished Web Application Developer, and is a co-creator of the popular weblog software Blogger (www.blogger.com). He co-wrote "We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs" (John Wiley & Sons), and posts thoughts and photos almost daily to his personal weblog onfocus (www.onfocus.com).
August 2003 First Edition
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