Amazon extends its reach with Web services

Amazon.com Inc. rolled out the welcome mat Tuesday for Web site developers and owners to build applications and tools that will allow them to incorporate Amazon's offerings into their sites.

In a bid to drum up more traffic and sales, the e-commerce giant is offering Amazon.com Web Services for free, allowing third-party sites to search and display Amazon products.

The Web services can be accessed at http://www.amazon.com/webservices through both XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP standards (Simple Object Access Protocol). The services will also be integrated into Amazon's Associate Program, which allows sites to earn referral fees from purchases made at Amazon via links on their sites.

The move comes as the Seattle, Washington, company looks to fatten its bottom line amid increased competition. Just last month Buy.com Inc. launched a price war against Amazon, offering to undercut the online bookseller's book prices by 10 percent.

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