Playing Monopoly on the Internet

Amazon has decided to play internet monopoly in earnest, say the editors of LibraryThing Blog. A new condition for Amazon Associates to receive data (including cover art) about books for sale is that the primary web page listing each book must link to Amazon alone. They prohibit links to other booksellers. Non-Amazon links may appear only on secondary pages you go to from the primary page.

The rules have also been changed to prohibit the use of Amazon’s product advertising content in connection with sites or applications intended for use with a mobile phone or handheld device.

LibraryThing’s editors don’t think Amazon’s decision is good for anyone:

[The] the decision is probably not even good for Amazon. Together with a new request-monitoring system, banning iPhone applications that use Amazon data, and much of their work on the Kindle, Amazon is retreating from its historic commitment to simplicity, flexibility and openness. They won through openness. Their data is all over the web, and with it millions of links to Amazon. They won’t benefit from a retreat here.

Here are the specific terms from the Amazon Associates agreement:

(d) You will link each use of Product Advertising Content to, and only to, the related Product detail page of the Amazon Site, and you will not link any Product Advertising Content to, or in conjunction with any Product Advertising Content direct traffic to, any page of a site other than the Amazon Site (however, parts of your application that are not closely associated with Product Advertising Content may contain links to sites other than the Amazon Site).

(e) You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link , use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device.

[Thanks to Francis Hamit for the story.]

1 thought on “Playing Monopoly on the Internet

  1. One of the few reasons I patronize Amazon is that Jeff Bezos is taking his profits and using them to build honest-to-Heinlein real live spaceships.

    Same for my cable and Internet service provider, Charter Communications, owned by Paul Allen, who is doing the same.

    Flying cars or not, it’s one of the signs that we really are living in the 21st Century — the F*U*T*U*R*E — that I can say those sentences as literal truth.

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