Amazon Receives Patent On (Slightly Special) Error Pages

    January 30, 2008
  is a decent place to shop for books, CDs, or whatever else you like.  It’s also a good site to read reviews, even if you do your buying elsewhere.  But the company has once again embarrassed itself by receiving an obvious patent.

To be fair, there was a good deal of separation between the original filing and the completion of its request; Amazon filled out all the paperwork on August 5, 2003, and only received the patent yesterday.  Also, as far as we know, no string of lawsuits has been filed as a result.Amazon Receives Patent On (Slightly Special) Error Pages

We’ll let you look at the patent abstract (hat tip to Slashdot) and judge its validity for yourself, however.

A client component runs on a user computer in conjunction with a web browser and detects errors, such as but not limited to "404: page not found" errors, in which a requested web page or other object cannot be displayed. In response to detecting the error, the client component notifies an error processing server, which uses the URL of the failed request to identify an alternate object to display. The alternate object may, for example, be (a) an object retrieved from replacement URL, or from a URL that is otherwise related to the requested object, (b) a cached version of the requested object, (c) an object retrieved from a closely matching URL found in the user’s clickstream history, or (d) a dynamically generated page that includes links to one or more of the foregoing types of alternate objects.

So it’s more or less a way of directing users from nonworking Web pages to similar functional ones.  Clever, but not as original as we’d like.  Also, it seems to depend on letting Amazon crawl around inside one’s computer.

This is hardly the first instance of Amazon-related patent craziness, though; past instances include its patent on one-click shopping and another one covering the inclusion of search strings in URLs.