According to a research report issued by RBC Capital, Amazon controls over 33% of the e-commerce market in the United States. They are clearly on the top of their game, but are losing their heart? Recent actions by the monolithic e-commerce Juggernaut that is Amazon are causing more and more users to question the company’s competitive practices.
For example, Joshua Odmark learned the hardway that Amazon has stopped paying affilliates their commission when the affiliate uses a URL shortener like tinyurl or bitly. Last week Amazon cut off four different affiliate partners that supplied ShopSavvy with product data. The reason? Amazon doesn’t have the resources to support mobile applications. Nobody including people like John Gruber can understand why Amazon would seek to limit the distribution of their data and ultimately their ability to sell their goods. Finally, earlier today Wil Shipley, internet rockstar, had to remove his uber-popular application Delicious Library today after receiving notice from Amazon he would be cut off. Ouch. Dan Moren from Macworld responded, “this blanket ban on mobile apps is bizarre and, to put it bluntly, stupid.”
We love Amazon. What they have done for online commerce has been truly remarkable. In many ways, they set the stage for apps like ShopSavvy.
Unfortunately, we have had difficulty incorporating Amazon products among the more than 20,000 retailers and 2 million products that are part of ShopSavvy. It’s not a technical issue; with access to Amazon’s product API, we could include all Amazon products in the ShopSavvy database immediately. But for reasons that are unclear to us, Amazon has not yet given us this access.
For a while, we have been able to work around this problem, because a number of our partners had access to Amazon’s API, and we were able to display Amazon results through them. But now Amazon has essentially cut this option off, meaning that only a small percentage of Amazon products now display in ShopSavvy results.
We’re not sure why Amazon is reluctant to be part of ShopSavvy, but we know that our 1+ million users would benefit from having access to Amazon’s prices as they comparison shop for books, movies, music, games, electronics and many other types of products.
We intend to plead our case directly to Amazon again soon — and we will need your help. Let Amazon know that you want their product results to be part of ShopSavvy. Tell Amazon they should join Best Buy, Wal-Mart and the 20,000 other retailers who allow their products to be accessed by ShopSavvy users.