Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Alexa - Rocky I or Rocky VI?

I've posted in the past about Alexa and its lost potential. I also posted that Microsoft should launch a white-labeled API-driven search platform via Start.com. Looks like I got the concept right, if not the company (story_here) with Amazon launching a near-free Alexa search platform. Amazon had already been offering an API to Alexa, but now has increased the stake by white-labeling the whole service and charging a small usage fee for access and hosting ($1 per gig storage used, $1 per 50 gigs of data processed, and $1 per gig uploaded). You've got to admire the folks at Amazon for their aggressiveness (if not yet the success of their non-book offerings).

The possibilities here are endless. One of the largest barrier to building competitors in search had been the data costs in spidering and caching the billions of pages needed to drive a useful search engine. Now that cost is essentially immaterial. Amazon's version of Web 2.0 (search as web service) could be game changing... We should start seeing a whole lot of competitors in this space as a result, helping drive the commoditization of search, ultimately reducing advertising margins. Imagine if Alexa (or one of the developers building off their platform) offered an Adsense program where it only took 1-5% of the search proceeds and gave publishers 95-99% of the revenue. :) You get the drift.

So here's hoping Alexa is more Rocky I (makes a great comeback) than Rocky VI (should be retired indefinitely). Regardless, kudos to team Amazon for taking that risk.


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