Amazon: Good or Bad?

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Angela made a good point about my last post: How is sharing data good for Amazon, if I’m telling people to use their data, but not buy from them?

Amazon has done some shady things, particularly when it comes to patents. Plus, everytime I think about how everything I do on their site is tracked, cross-referenced, and correlated with a thousand other bits of data, it kind of makes my skin crawl. But, Amazon is an innovator. They often set the standards for e-commerce features and usability. They have made their massive database freely available to anyone who wants to try to do something useful with it. And, while they have the potential to do much evil, they seem to be restraining themselves. So, while I wouldn’t call them a good company, I can’t really call them a bad company, either.

All of that to say I’m not totally opposed to Amazon. I frequent their website, I make use of their features, and I have occassionally bought things from them. When I said not to buy from them, I was specifically talking about independent music. The artist gets a higher percentage of the profits if you buy directly from them. Also, buying from the small sites I mentioned yesterday will show the industry there is a market for independent music.