I just saw this news item from ClickZ News:
By Kevin Newcomb - December 28, 2005
Adding to its user-generated content, Amazon.com has launched a program to allow authors to blog on the Amazon.com site.
The Amazon Connect program, in beta for the past month, aims to increase the engagement between readers and authors, and between readers and Amazon.com. It provides authors with a channel to market new products to consumers who bought their books in the past, and gives them a reason to visit Amazon.com.
The most recent posts from an author's blog will be featured prominently on an author's profile page or on a book's description page, along with a link to the author's full blog. In addition, users will see new posts from authors of books they've purchased on their Amazon home page.
Authors are required to provide a 'verifier,' or trusted third party contact -- such as a publisher, agent or editor -- to verify authorship of books they claim to have written. Authors won't be allowed to blog until an Amazon representative has verified their identity.
In the Amazon Connect FAQ, authors are urged to observe 'dinner party' etiquette. 'Strive to participate in tasteful 'conversation' with your readers using thoughtful, interesting and amusing dialogue while avoiding profanity, excessive negativity or insulting comments,' it says.
So far, the program doesn't allow readers to comment on blog posts, or to subscribe to blogs via RSS feed.
Amazon.com has experimented with user-generated content before. Last year, it began allowing users to upload pictures related to products. It also reportedly began testing product wiki pages last month, on which consumers could add or edit information about a book or product in the manner of wikipedia. The company also began letting users tag products with descriptive keywords viewable by anyone."
This is another huge step for user-generated content, brand democratization and instant personal publishing. There's also no surprise that this comes from Amazon.com. They're always ahead of the curve and are eager to adopt newer technologies to increase sales and conversion.
I really look forward to the addition of RSS feeds on this. RSS is truly where Blog technology takes the lead.