Late in 1999, Amazon.com received a patent for "1-click ordering". This means they patented the process of storing a customer's billing information so that they do not have to enter it every time they purchase something.
Then, in late February 2000, they received a patent on the process of affiliate programs.
The problem is that many of us consider these to be both obvious and unpatentable. And we are concerned about the issues of software and process patent abuse.
I have been an Amazon.com affiliate for some time. When you click on a book on my site you will go to Amazon.com where you can read more about it and order it. And if you order it, I get a buck or two.
After much discussion with my colleagues and serious evaluation, on 28.Feb.2000, I began the process of substituting a new affiliate program in protest of the Amazon.com patents and software patents in general.
I joined first the Borders.com program, in part because I like the Borders brick-and-mortar stores. I experienced some deep frustrations trying to get the program to work. Borders didn't operate its own program - they outsourced it to LinkShare.net. And LinkShare.net seemed to be completely clueless about book affiliates. While LinkShare made it relatively easy to create a link for one book or to their site in general, they made the process of creating "large numbers" of book links so incredibly difficult that after many frustrating emails, I reluctantly abandoned the program.
Subsequently, I joined the Barnes & Noble program. And I experienced similar problems and frustrations for the same reasons. Barnes & Noble outsourced their program to Affiliate.net and they also made the process of creating large numbers of individual book links so difficult it was unbearable.
So, even though I'll stay using Amazon.com, I'll protest in part by including the links to these two organizations, even while I continue to participate:
Both of these are organizations opposed to the Amazon.com patents in particular and software patents in general.
This is not an answer I am completely comfortable with. But it will have to do for now.
You might also like to check out my page on GIFs and the UNISYS GIF Patent Controversy.
In early 2001, Borders announced that it was closing its online store and affiliating with Amazon. Seems like I wasn't the only one having problems with that affiliate program.
Wired.com (02.Mar.2000) , " Another Amazon Patent Furor": "It's not nice to mess with Mother Web." The article explains some of the current frustration and anger with Amazon.com and with software patents in general. (www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,34670,00.html)
Wired.com (02.Mar.2000) , " Hack Averts Amazon Referrals": An explanation of the Amazon.com referral technique, and how to change it to benefit the organization you would like. (www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,34687,00.html)
I am an "affiliate" of Amazon.com. Clicking on Amazon.com links on this page will credit my affiliate account. Purchases as a result of such clicks may result in payments to me. In accordance with my Affiliate Programs Policy, whenever I provide a link to an affiliate program that pays me, I attempt to also provide an alternate link which omits the referral information. These alternate links will not result in payment to me. If you object to affiliate programs, you can use these alternate links. If you would prefer to go to Amazon.com without crediting my affiliate account, click here.
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