The Web Is the Platform, a new story by John K. Waters over at Application Development Trends magazine profiles the major web services developer programs from eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, Google and Salesforce.com (conspicuously missing is Microsoft). It includes some good analysis of the issues including this look at the 'worries both ways':
The relationships between developers and ecommerce platform companies carry risks for both sides. For the eBays and Yahoos, there's a danger that developers will "game the systems," Enderle says. "The retailers are often compensated based on a series of metrics," he explains. "Sometimes it's the number of Web-page hits; sometimes it's the duration or some other quantifiable element. The more competent some of these [developers] get, the more capable they are at maximizing their incentive returns without necessarily providing the connected value. Gaming some of these services will undoubtedly become one of the next big careers."
For developers, there are the usual risks associated with being tied to one platform. Another concern is none of these companies has been supporting third-party developers for long. "The truth is, they're all pretty new at this stuff," Enderle says. "They're really just figuring out how to support these thirdparty developers. The developer should keep in mind that they're dealing with well-meaning people who haven't learned how to do this yet."