Posted December 13, 2005 9:22 am by with 0 comments

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JB takes a look at Amazon’s decision to offer up use of Alexa’s index to anyone wishing to pay a modest fee.

Anyone can also use Alexa’s servers and processing power to mine its index to discover things – perhaps, to outsource the crawl needed to create a vertical search engine, for example. Or maybe to build new kinds of search engines entirely, or …well, whatever creative folks can dream up. And then, anyone can run that new service on Alexa’s (er…Amazon’s) platform, should they wish.

It’s all done via web services. It’s all integrated with Amazon’s fabled web services platform. And there’s no licensing fees. Just “consumption fees” which, at my first glance, seem pretty reasonable. (“Consumption” meaning consuming processor cycles, or storage, or bandwidth).

The fees? One dollar per CPU hour consumed. $1 per gig of storage used. $1 per 50 gigs of data processed. $1 per gig of data uploaded (if you are putting your new service up on their platform).

From the Alexa website

The Alexa Web Search Platform provides public access to the vast web crawl collected by Alexa Internet. Users can search and process billions of documents — even create their own search engines — using Alexa’s search and publication tools. Alexa provides compute and storage resources that allow users to quickly process and store large amounts of web data. Users can view the results of their processes interactively, transfer the results to their home machine, or publish them as a new web service.

How could you use this new offering?

Rainer Typke, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student in the Netherlands, developed a search engine that lets Internet users identify music knowing only the melody and has already been using Alexa’s new service. With it, he has been able to significantly expand the number of melodies on his Web site,, to 1,000 with very little labor, Mr. Typke said. People who use his Web site to identify certain songs will find keywords so they can name that tune and, if interested, follow links to buy relevant music CDs on Amazon’s Web site. Mr. Typke receives a commission when a visitor to his Web site makes a purchase on Amazon’s.

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