Amazon.com’s subsidiary A9.com has built a new pay-per-click (PPC) advertising network called Clickriver. Clickriver will allow advertisers to display text ads alongside Amazon.com’s product pages and search results. This service will compete with the likes of Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and many others — although Clickriver at launch will only serve ads to Amazon.com-owned websites.
Being listed as a “related item” on a popular page can be a huge boon for sales – and with this move Amazon is effectively turning that advantage into a commodity. There’s something cannibalistic about that, but it could generate a lot of revenue. I think it’s fascinating. The service is currently accepting applications for its closed beta. Update: Amazon contacted me to clarify that advertised products must be complementary, sold off-site and not in competition with what Amazon is selling. I apologize for getting it wrong.
In time, some third party services will also sell ads on Amazon pages, the Clickriver site says. Amazon’s A9 recently shelved some of its most high profile features, like street level photos integrated with map search. This should be a far more profitable direction for the A9 team to pursue.
Steve Poland assisted with this write up but thinks Clickriver is a waste of resources that a partnership could have precluded.