Amazon Web Services Intros Business Model For Content Owners

Requester Pays allows data owners to charge users for the data transfer and request costs, rather than paying those costs themselves.

Thomas Claburn

January 6, 2009

2 Min Read
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Amazon Web Services last week introduced a new way for users of its Simple Storage Service, or S3, to pay for data.

The new feature, called Requester Pays, allows data owners to charge the accessing party for all data transfer and request costs, rather than paying those costs themselves.

In a post on the AWS blog, Jeff Barr, Web services evangelist at, says that business model innovation is as important as technical innovation. He argues that Requester Pays will allow AWS developers to create new, innovative business models.

Barr suggested ways Requester Pays could be used.

"First, by simply marking a bucket [an AWS data container] as Requester Pays, data owners can provide access to large data sets without incurring charges for data transfer or requests," he says. "For example, they could make available a 1-GB dataset at a cost of just 15 cents per month (18 cents if stored in the European instance of S3). Requesters use signed and specially flagged requests to identify themselves to AWS, paying for S3 GET requests and data transfer at the usual rates -- 17 cents per gigabyte for data transfer (even less at high volumes) and 1 cent for every 10,000 GET requests."

With Google planning to discontinue its Google Research Datasets Service at the end of the month, S3 could become a potential replacement, though it won't be free.

Another way Requester Pays could be used, said Barr, is with Amazon DevPay, the company's online billing and account management service, to add a markup amount, thus selling data for a profit.

"Organizations with large amounts of valuable data can now use DevPay to expose and monetize the data, with payment by the month or by access (or some combination)," Barr explains. "For example, I could create a database of all dog kennels in the United States, and make it available for $20 per month, with no charge for access. My AWS account would not be charged for the data transfer and request charges, only for the data storage."

InformationWeek has prepared a report on the top five areas where cloud storage will pay off -- and three places where it won't. You can download the report here (registration required).

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