Amazon.com, founded by entrepreneur Jeff Bezos in 1995, pioneered online retailing. Reaching prominence as "The Earth's Biggest Bookstore" during the initial dot-com boom, Amazon.com has not only survived but thrived. It has 59 million active customer accounts and serves as an exemplar of many of the techniques now recognized as central to a successful Web 2.0 strategy.
This case study examines how Amazon.com transitioned from a Web 1.0 to a Web 2.0 company—hoping to define Web 2.0 in the process—by leveraging the best practices described in this report (see Figure 40).
Figure 40: Amazon.com Web 2.0 timeline
Harnessing Collective Intelligence
Amazon.com accomplishes paying the user first with a best-in-class retail shopping experience. In 2005, the Annual Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for Amazon.com was 87 out of a possible 100, the highest score of any retail and online service company.
Building from that core shopping experience, Amazon.com has repeatedly demonstrated how an architecture of participation can be created on top of what is otherwise a commodity business. Beginning with essentially the same data and products as early competitors, such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com aggressively built features that invited customer involvement and contribution. One of Amazon.com's most enduring successes is customer product reviews. Rather ...