Just as Google is helping Google Maps developers monetize their mashups, Amazon is giving EC2 API developers a new way to make money. How? With their new Paid AMI support program. It lets creators of EC2 AMIs, or Amazon Machine Images, a means for reselling their AMIs and earn an ongoing commission. This means customers of the EC2 virtual computing service can become resellers of their own software as a service stack.
Jinesh Varia from the Amazon Web Services team gives an overview in this blog post:
For example, A Ruby on Rails Developer can now configure the entire stack (Nginx, Apache, Mongrel, MySQL and all the open source goodies that "simply works"), set its price, say $0.15 cents/hour and $0.12 /GB-up and $0.21 /GB-down and fire away. While Amazon EC2 gets the same old traditional $0.10/hour, $0.10/GB-up and $0.18/GB-down, the developer (AMI-creator) gets the difference (in this case, $0.05/hour, $0.02/GB-up, $0.03/GB-down) credited back to his account from whomever who instantiates that image.
The AMI-creator can set any price for the AMI depending upon the software that is loaded or as compensation for the work and time he has put onto making it and AMI-consumer simply purchases the AMI just like he purchases more tangible items from Amazon.com.