If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may recall my Ka-Ching post this past summer. In the course of announcing the Amazon Flexible Payments Service, I also tried to make clear the fact that we are doing our best to enable and encourage developers to build profitable businesses around our line of web services.
We are now taking another big step in that direction with the introduction of Amazon DevPay. This new service allows entrepreneurial developers to wrap their own business models around Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2, taking advantage of Amazon's existing customer base and billing infrastructure. With DevPay, developers can focus on being creative and innovative while dispatching the less-than-glamorous aspects of dealing with bank accounts, credit cards, and so forth to us.
Developers use DevPay's web-based registration interface to create pricing plans for their applications, monitor customer signups, and track usage. The developer's customers use another web-based interface to sign up and enter payment information for the applications that they wish to use.
You can think of DevPay as an enabling technology for our other services. As as developer you will spend most of your time working with the other AWS services while counting on DevPay to allow you to monetize your hard work.
One thing that I really love about DevPay is the fact that it builds on years and years of work in a multitude of areas! We've been putting the building blocks in place for a long time. Starting from Amazon's early focus on providing customers with a great online experience, to the creation of our ever-growing line of scalable and powerful web services, we can now measure and bill Amazon customers for the use of applications built by our 290,000-strong developer community. We've taken what we know about creating a great online shopping experience and applied it to every aspect of DevPay, from the application registration and purchase pipelines to the user billing statement and the developer information dashboard.
Like all of our services, DevPay offers a lot of flexibility. You can create your own pricing plan for your EC2 AMIs or your S3 objects using any combination of one-time charges, recurring monthly charges, and metered Amazon Web Service usage. You have total flexibility to price your applications either higher or lower than your AWS usage.
DevPay includes a complete "pipeline" (series of web pages) for you to use as part of your application's sign up process. When your customers travel through the pipeline they will sign in to their Amazon account, choose a payment method, agree to the pricing plan and gain access to the application using a private identifier generated by DevPay.
Your customers will be billed for usage of their DevPay-powered applications on the first day of each month. We will then deduct a 3% fee plus another 30 cents, and deposit the remainder in your DevPay account. We will then charge your account for the usage of the Amazon services. You can transfer the profits (your DevPay balance) to your bank account whenever you want. You will also be able to log in to the DevPay portal to check on the status of your business at any point.
You can also use DevPay with your Amazon S3 applications. If your application adds value above and beyond raw storage (backup, indexing, personalization, or recommendations all come to mind) you can charge more than the base prices for storage and bandwidth.
You can adjust your pricing plan at any point if need be. DevPay even allows you to customize the email notification that will be sent to your customers when this happens. This is another way that our focus on customers really comes through, and it is one less thing that you will have to do yourself.
We've already got two interesting examples of DevPay in action...
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now available on Amazon EC2 via DevPay. New users simply click the Subscribe Now button, agree to the payment terms, and have access to the RHEL AMIs in a matter of minutes. The monthly fees includes the ability to run the RHEL AMIs on EC2, a Red Hat Network Update Entitlement and unlimited email support with 2-day turnaround.
Zmanda Internet Backup is a plugin for the Amanda Enterprise backup software. Amanda Enterprise is a certified, tested, and supported version of the popular Amanda open source backup and recovery tool. Amanda can now use Amazon S3 to backup, archive and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the Internet.
A number of other developers now integrating DevPay into their applications and I'll be blogging about them in the very near future. If you build a cool application with DevPay, send us some mail, leave a comment to this blog post, or write your own post with all of the relevant information.