Amazon Standard Identification Number

The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a unique identification number assigned by Amazon.com and its partners for product identification within the Amazon.com organization. [ [http://amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=898182 Amazon help: 'What is an ASIN?'] ]

Each product sold on Amazon.com is given a unique ASIN. For books with 10-digit ISBN, the ASIN and the ISBN are the same. Books without an ISBN and other products are also assigned ASINs. ASINs are also used for other items used by Amazon.com (and subsidiaries), such as businesses in the yellow pages (on A9.com) and OpenSearch feeds.

Proponents of the free culture movement such as Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales, have criticized the ASIN as an example of a proprietary product identifier, arguing that it draws producers—especially smaller ones—into a lock-in with Amazon, and proposed the creation of an open alternative where producers could register product IDs for a marginal fee without proprietary control, and the resulting databases would be available under a free license. [Jimmy Wales: "" Wikimania 2005 keynote, August 2005. Section "8. Free the Product Identifiers!". [http://www.knams.wikimedia.org/wikimania/Wikimania2005_JW1_low_video.ogg Video] (1:07:51)]

ASIN in Amazon URLs

On Amazon's USA-targeted web site, a product's web address (URL) always contains its ASIN in the format of:

:http://amazon.com/gp/product/ASIN-VALUE-HERE

The former format was http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/ASIN-VALUE-HERE.

Therefore the URL on Amazon for the paperback of Strunk, White, and Roger Angell's "The Elements of Style, 4th Edition", whose ISBN is 020530902X, is:

:http://amazon.com/gp/product/020530902X

A shorter form of the URL for most products is:

:http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/ASIN-VALUE-HERE

An even "shorter" form of the URL is:

:http://amazon.com/dp/ASIN-VALUE-HERE (dp="detail page")

So the URL for "Elements of Style, 4th Edition" would become:

:http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/020530902X

Similar URLs can be constructed for Amazon sites in other countries, such as:

:http://amazon.co.uk/o/ASIN/020530902X:http://amazon.de/o/ASIN/020530902X:http://amazon.fr/o/ASIN/020530902X

However, not all sites carry all titles—e.g. ASIN 393206402X is only available on the German version of Amazon.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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