Have you ever noticed restaurant listings on Amazon.com? They aren’t available from the home page or any of 32 product categories. There isn’t any mention in the press releases or investor relations. However, you can search the site for "restaurants" and something interesting shows up – menus from local dining establishments. Don’t search for "restaurant" without the "s" – that’ll give you a regular product search.
As far as I can tell, there’s no affiliate revenue involved here for Amazon. Here’s the FAQ. It looks like they’re extending their business model into information delivery and not just online sales. Prior moves, such as "search inside" were still driving to a sale. In this case, I’d expect to see the affiliate business model evolve eventually (e.g. restaurants pay to have their menu published – they may have already), but for now there’s no way of tracking if a customer calls to make a reservation as a result of viewing the menu on Amazon – same phone number (click to call would be nice here too).
I stumbled across this content – in thinking about a trip to New York later this week, I was wondering how far away I’d be from this great pasta place, Lamarca. I remembered it was near Irving Place. Then I checked for "lamarca" on the map. Clicking on the first link, the restaurant’s address card showed amazon.com as the source of its contact information – which was interesting.
Amazon.com may not be as sexy as Web 2.0 newcomers – but don’t count out the company that revolutionized e-commerce just yet…