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Amazon goes shopping for developers

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Amazon is targeting software developers and entrepreneurs with expanded web services and marketing support to attract more shoppers to its service.

The online merchant plans to expand its existing library of seven web services in the "near future", the company said Tuesday. Amazon currently makes web services and Amazon APIs available for developers who use the code to integrate their own shopping sites with Amazon's payment and search infrastructure.

Amazon's goal is to establish its marketplace against online competitors with the support of an expanding ecosystem of developers, who would add shopping services that attract more customers.

Amazon plans to further woo developers to its four-year-old web services program by providing them with improved online resources and marketing. Steve Rabuchin, director of developer relations and marketing for Amazon's web services, said the company will undertake more co-marketing activities that "get the word out" about the benefits of working with Amazon.

"The more you are out there getting the word out, the more spikes you get on the Amazon web site. Not a lot folks always know Amazon has web services and that we focus this group on developers," he said.

Rabuchin, speaking at Evans Data Corp's annual developer relation's conference in San Francisco, said greater marketing could include web casts and advice for developers on how to promote their applications.

Much of Amazon's outreach with developers had been through its existing PR program.

As a step towards offering developers greater online resources, Amazon this week plans to launch updated forums that provide chat and add an online knowledge base. Amazon is adopting forum software from Jive Software, which enables developers to receive email notification when a query they have submitted online has been answered.

Rabuchin said the online knowledge base would be an important tool in helping developers use Amazon's code and to find answers to their questions. "Early on in the developer relations program, we hadn't got to the point where we could invest in it [the knowledge base] and populate it [with content]. We think we are there now," Rabuchin said.®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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