In an intriguing move, Amazon is selling access to pricing information from its vast data warehouse in a project called Amazon Historical Pricing. The program allows users to submit queries through Amazon’s web services API to track the price and of various items over time. This helps to detect seasonal trends or the impact of other market events, or to get pricing information for “Long Tail” items that are currently out of stock or hard to compare elsewhere. The program is designed to be useful, but not so useful that you can reverse engineer Amazon’s performance. Certain data are lacking, such as actual volumes, and you can only store results for 7 days. In addition, there are restrictions on the number of queries you can issue (20,000 to 60,000 requests per month, depending on the program level), and terms of use explicitly prohibit trying to reproduce Amazon’s business results.

(Restrictions aside, this is a very interesting development. Amazon is even using pricing to drive interest in the program, discounting 75% before January. I’m so intrigued, I’ll discount 20% (sorry, 75% just doesn’t work in this situation) off any project built around this, such as using Amazon Historical Pricing to populate a MimiranM2 analysis solution.)

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