May 21, 2003, 9:56 AM — Amazon.com Inc. released this week a new version of its Web services toolkit, a bundle intended to let developers tap into and repackage product information and other data from Amazon.com's Web site.
One added feature in the new release is syndication technology allowing Web site maintainers to embed Amazon.com's shopping cart technology into their own sites.
Amazon.com's Web services initiative is part of its extensive efforts to encourage outside parties to feature Amazon.com's merchandise on their own sites. Participants in Amazon.com's seven-year-old Associates program, which offers Web site owners a percentage of sales generated through their sites, can use Amazon.com's Web services tools to add dynamic features to their sites, such as real-time pricing and availability information.
The tools can also be used by developers to create applications aimed at the growing ranks of vendors either selling merchandise through Amazon.com or offering Amazon.com's wares on their own sites. Amazon.com held a competition in late 2002 asking developers to create store-builder applications using its Web services tools; the winning product, StorePerfect from WebWin Solutions Inc., sells for US$59.99.
More than 25,000 developers have enrolled in Amazon.com's free Web services program since its launch ten months ago, the Seattle-based company said. The program is available for the U.S.-based Amazon.com Web site and for U.K.-based Amazon.co.uk. Other country sites will be added to the program in the future, Amazon.com said.