Posted April 19, 2007 3:59 pm by with 4 comments

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been caught saying one thing and doing another. According to ZDNet, while Bezos was chatting at the Web 2.0 conference and promoting his company’s S3 hosting service to the crowd, he was quietly suing the pants off of Alexaholic.

Quietly that is, until host Tim O’Reilly put Bezos on the spot.

O’Reilly asked Bezos point blank about the whole Alexa versus Alexaholic…Bezos seemed to be caught completely off guard by this question and tried to explain Alexa’s stand with that age old “intellectual property” and “trademark” line. It was clear that all O’Reilly wanted to see was a shift in Alexa’s policies, to be more open with the Web 2.0 community, and to hopefully foster an amicable solution for a service that he really liked and respected. That being Statsaholic. 

As Alan Graham points out, anyone can download Alexa graphs and display them on their site and much of their information is collected by volunteers anyway. Furthermore, Alexholic had changed its name to Statsaholic BEFORE the Amazon filed its lawsuit to force them to “stop infringing Alexa’s trademarks and to stop pirating Alexa proprietary data.”

I’m certainly with Pete Cashmore on this one. Why would anyone want to use Amazon’s S3 hosting services when the company bullys a start-up that is merely providing a mash-up of Alexa?

I’m betting this will be at the top of TechMeme within hours and Amazon could face a reputation crisis shortly thereafter. Reaching out to help developers with one hand, while you smack them in the head with the other, is the kind of thing that will cause a backlash in a hurry.