ZDNet is reporting today that Amazon has filed a patent application for an online marketplace where consumers search and pay for Web services. (Here is a link to the patent application.) The idea is to create a marketplace where third-party Web services providers can link up with consumers. Consumers will be able to search for Web services and read comments and reviews from others who have used the service. Amazon can also provide the suppliers of these services with assurances that only authorized consumers can access their offerings.
Hmm. A similar service has already been out there for a year or so from StrikeIron, through its online "Web Services Business Network." StrikeIron's search service is a mix of for-pay (mainly StrikeIron premium services) and freebies, ranging from serious business services (car rental reservation agent, currency converter, zip code lookups) to off-the-wall (English to Pig Latin translator).
StrikeIron's business model is based on resulting subscriptions to its own premium services. The vendor also includes a knowledgebase on the services it lists, as well as monitoring data for performance and uptime.
Amazon, it appears, would act purely as a market intermediary and collect some kind of percentage from vendors posting their services. The ZDNet article notes that "Amazon would collect a fee from companies providing the service. In its filing, Amazon notes that after receiving a customer's payment for a third-party Web service, it will provide 'at least some of the obtained payment for the subscriptions to the third-party Web services provider that registered the...service.'"