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Wikipedia Pages Now On Amazon — With Product Links 130

Posted by timothy
from the seems-like-a-cool-idea-to-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last month, e-commerce marketplace Amazon.com launched a relatively unnoticed new feature that brings content from Wikipedia pages to its own servers in a shadowy new project that appears to be called 'Shopping Enabled Wikipedia Pages.' Hosted on the Amazon.com domain, they replicate Wikipedia's content but have added links to where a book can be purchased on Amazon. Amazon representative Anya Waring told CNET when asked via e-mail, 'As of November, we have rolled out in the books category, however [it] will be expanding to new categories in 2011.' If Average Joe scrapes Wikipedia and adds affiliate links to it, Google will remove and punish the domains with duplicate pages."
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Wikipedia Pages Now On Amazon — With Product Links

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  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:37PM (#34444418) Journal
    Google punishes wikipedia clones with adverts? Are you sure, because one of the things that made me stop using Google was the large number of results that were either mailing list archives with ads (the same list post on the top 10 hits, just different ads), or Wikipedia copies with ads. In fact, the 'Google will remove and punish' link refers to domains that contain the same content on different pages, rather than domains that duplicate the content of other domains, so is completely inapplicable to pages hosting Wikipedia content plus adverts.
  • by Afforess (1310263) <afforess@gmail.com> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:29PM (#34444740) Journal
    Let's play this game. Assume Wikipedia was using a more draconian licence that restricted monetary gain. Then it would become a much less valuable as source material. If I was working on a research grant, I couldn't touch wikipedia, not even to check their sources, out of fear of getting sued for copyright violations. Do we really want more of that?
  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:43PM (#34444832) Homepage Journal

    Well, that will happen until Wikipedia directly blocks Amazon IP addresses because of a sudden uncontrollable spike in bandwidth usage/bandwidth bill.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:44PM (#34444836) Homepage

    Wikipedia will be the first encyclopedia to have a version which actually directly pushes readers to more authoritative sources (specialized books, etc.) How many other encyclopedias will be able to say that they have such integration?

  • Shoving what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poptones (653660) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:56PM (#34444916) Journal

    Are they redirecting people from wikipedia? Are they stomping on search result pages? Nothing is being "shoved" here.

    This is an incredibly useful feature. I use wikipedia all the time for research papaers, but most research papers do not allow online sources or allow only a limited number. Citations to actual books are needed, and to draw quotes from those books we need access to at least a bit of the content. Amazon provides this, meaning now I may be able to just click a citation and be directed to the proper page at amazon where I can access a few sample pages from the book - ba-bing, now I have a citation for my paper. What's amazing is not how amazon was crass enough to do this, but that jimmy wales was so shortsighted as to not offer to do this from the beginning. That's potentially a lot of revenue they'll never claim now.

  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:30PM (#34445102)

    No, they don't. Wikipedia will not be getting a SINGLE DOLLAR out of this, and this is almost certainly not something that was decided by any of the wikipedia administrators.

    Aww, don't be so cynical. Not a single dollar? Do you know what Wikipedia's biggest expense is? Serving their pages. It's a burden for them.

    Answers.com, Amazon and a bunch of other sites host mirrors of Wikipedia for free, in exchange for putting some of their own ads on it. Wikipedia serves their information to more people, while serving less traffic directly.

    Everybody wins.

  • by owlnation (858981) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:51PM (#34445244)

    Wikipedia has certain problems -- when I look up topics in which I'm an expert, I always find the articles full of mistakes -- but it was nice to see something that was relatively free of commercial spin.

    I wish more people would do this. I think people rarely look up pages in which they are expert, or have good knowledge of. I have found errors, misrepresentations or bad explanations in most pages I've looked at, where I am knowledgeable in the subject. This leads me to the reasonable conclusion that there probably errors on most pages, some of them serious, some of them deliberate.

    And no, I don't fix them. I simply do not have the time nor the inclination to play editing wars with some wikifascist. Until such time as wikipedia has a fair and transparent administration system there's no point in wasting your time trying to improve it.

    It could well end up that Amazon's version ends up being more accurate and reliable due to the fact that they may well be more accountable and honest than the WikiFoundation.

    I don't see an issue with this at all. Many wikipedia pages are already shilled, astroturfed, fancruft, blatant spam or copied as near as verbatim from commercial websites. Many "citations" are links to third party commercial sites, and nothing like primary sources at all. Importantly also, almost all Movie pages, for example, have content that's clearly stolen directly from IMdB. Since IMdB is owned by Amazon, it only seems fair that they'd return the favor and steal it back. I'm astounded Amazon hasn't already sued them -- the theft of their data by wikieditors has been blatant for years.

    Anyway, how is this different from Jimbo selling off other people's wikipedia content to Answers.com for personal profit? This seems more honest than that to me.

  • by Petrushka (815171) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @04:20PM (#34445710)

    I doubt that, Wikipedia has thousands of revisions on even less important topics and mistakes get corrected out pretty quick, of course, if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

    I can certainly vouch for the GP's sentiment in my own area of expertise. I actually use Wikipedia primarily as a tool for finding out what kinds of misinformation there are floating around in the wild; it's a useful gauge of what misinformation is popularly perceived to be "true".

    Experts have much better things to do than edit Wikipedia; it's abundantly clear that all editing is controlled by people with vested interests who use opaque processes to silence dissent. Experts do have a responsibility to write popular science, targetted at educated non-specialists. However, there's absolutely no point doing so in a venue that will invariably introduce errors after it's been written.

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