How Does Amazon Work?

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Amazon is an e-commerce company that sells and manages delivery of various products through its online service. The homepage typically lists featured products and special offers, but if a user has visited the website previously, the homepage is tailored specifically according to the user’s shopping habits and queries. The service also allows third-party retailers, such as Target or Toys "R" Us, to sell their products.

Amazon offers users the opportunity to qualify as affiliates, allowing them to earn a commission for every sale that resulted from their marketing efforts. Additionally, the service lets users create their own websites that are integrated within and based on the Amazon platform. By doing so, a user who serves as an Amazon associate is able to sell the products listed directly on Amazon’s servers through his own website and earn a cut for every sale.

All of the relevant data that is necessary for the platform to function is stored in the central data warehouse. As of 2014, it consists of 28 Hewlett Packard servers, each running four processors per node. To protect sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, Amazon uses the Netscape Secure Commerce Server, which utilizes the SSL protocol. The data is stored in separate databases that cannot be accessed via Internet, thus protecting it from hacking attempts.

One of the server's most prominent features is the customer-tracking functionality. Through it, Amazon collects data from every registered user whenever a person visits the website. Once the data is gathered, Amazon recommends products that are similar to the ones the customer is already searching for or related to what he has searched for in the past.