Amazon Launches Requester Pays Model for S3

The Amazon Web Services team has announced a new "Requester Pays" pricing model for their Simple Storage Service (S3). Amazon's S3 service, which provides scalable access to Amazon's online data storage infrastructure, enables customers to rapidly scale their Platform using a cost effective pay-as-you-go model. Now, the new S3 Requester Pays Model gives S3 customers the built-in ability to charge their users for specific data transfers. Furthermore, Amazon takes care of the billing for the requested data, eliminating excess accounting overhead for the data providers. From their announcement:

By simply marking a bucket as Requester Pays, data owners can provide access to large data sets without incurring charges for data transfer or requests... Requesters use signed and specially flagged requests to identify themselves to AWS, paying for S3 GET requests and data transfer at the usual rates.

The S3 Requester Pays model can also be configured to work in conjunction with Amazon DevPay, which enables Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 customers to sell subscription access to their services.


The S3 Requester Pays model opens up a variety of possibilities, especially when paired with DevPay:

Content owners charge a markup for access to the data. The price can include a monthly fee, a markup on the data transfer costs, and a markup on the cost of each GET. The newest version of the DevPay Developer Guide has all of the information needed to set this up, including some helpful diagrams. 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). 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.

This is a very promising new capability for developers. As Amazon's Jeff Barr notes: "business model innovation is as important as technical innovation. This new feature gives you the ability to create the new, innovative, and very efficient business models".

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