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Requester Pays: A New Amazon Business Model

by Abel Avram on Jan 07, 2009 |

Amazon has introduced a new business model for its S3 web services called Requester Pays. Businesses using S3 can mark up data buckets so their transfer will be paid by data requesters instead of being paid by their owners as it is now. Used in conjunction with DevPay, the new model opens new business opportunities for companies willing to share their data with others.

Usually, an S3 bucket owner pays for its storage and transfer costs. That inhibits the businesses from opening up their data to others because they will have to pay every time the data is accessed and downloaded. The new business model, Requester Pays, will change the game. The bucket owner can decide if a bucket uses the new model, in which case the consumer accessing and transferring the data will have to pay for that service.

The bucket owner has to authenticate all requests coming for a Requester Pays bucket for Amazon to be able to charge the requesters. Furthermore, the requesters must add “x-amz-request-payer” in their GET/POST request to indicate they are aware of the paying procedure. The following bucket requests are not allowed, according to Amazon:

  • Anonymous requests

  • BitTorrent

  • SOAP requests

  • You cannot use a Requester Pays bucket as the target bucket for end user logging, or vice versa. However, you can turn on end user logging on a Requester Pays bucket where the target bucket is a non Requester Pays bucket.

The new business model will create new business opportunities for companies owning large amounts of data. Using Requester Pays does not create a profit by itself because the owner still pays for the storage and only avoids paying for the transfer, but it can be used in conjunction with Amazon’s DevPay. Instead of allowing access to data only to registered S3 users, DevPay allows the data owner to grant access to everyone using different paying models: monthly fee, paying for GET requests, paying for transfers (GB). By making the data public and using one of those paying models, the data owners can make a profit opening the gate to new business revenues and opportunities. 

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