Amazon released a set of hosted e-commerce payment services, as well as an update to its Mechanical Turk service. The payment service, Checkout by Amazon, will allow online retailers to use Amazon's one-click checkout system, calculate shipping costs and tax, as well as allow their customers to track shipments. The updates to the Mechanical Turk are mostly meant to streamline the creation of new tasks by guiding businesses through the process more efficiently.In a quick succession of announcements,
Checkout by Amazon
two options: Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Simple Pay. Simply Pay is basically a stripped-down version of the full Checkout package and doesn't include the one-click checkout and most of the order management features such as calculating sales tax and shipping rates, creating packing slips, or collecting buyer feedback. Simple Pay, on the other hand, allows sellers to use more payment options, including credit cards and bank accounts. Checkout by Amazon can only accept credit cards.Out of the two announcements, the payment services service are the most interesting. Amazon gives its customers
These services are basically an extension of Amazon's "Flexible Payment Service." This service (which has been in beta for quite a while now) gives developers a set of API that hook into Amazon's payment services. One area that Amazon is especially targeting with this is micro-payments.
With these new services, Amazon is going up against Google Checkout, as well as most credit card merchant accounts. However, with Amazon's already established reach among consumers, as well as the level of trust that most consumers have when it comes to working with Amazon, both Checkout and Simple Pay have a distinct advantage over their competition. For merchants, Amazon's Checkout service also offers a wider range of services than most credit card processors or Google Checkout currently offer. Google Checkout, however, is generally cheaper than Amazon's offerings - though it also offers fewer services.
Streamlined Mechanical Turk
Amazon's Mechanical Turk is basically a way to outsource menial tasks that would be too computing intensive or simply need human intelligence to be completed (Amazon calls them "Human Intelligence Tasks"). Applications reach from tagging photos to rewriting trivia questions, or digging a particular story.
With this latest update, 'requesters', as Amazon calls them, can look forward to a simpler user interface that will guide them through the process more effectively. Amazon has also created a set of more efficient tools to track and monitor the work that is being done.