Amazon gets a face-lift

The online retailer is quietly testing a new home page design, one that resembles the format of portal sites such as Yahoo.

Amazon.com is quietly testing a new home page design, one that resembles the format of portal sites such as Yahoo.

Instead of file "tabs" for its books, music and toy stores, Amazon's home page lists its different shopping areas under alphabetized headers such as "Auctions," "DVD & Video" and "zShops."

"It's a test," Amazon spokesman Bill Curry said. "We'll see how people react to it and what they do with the different interface."

The test site comes as the Seattle-based company prepares to release its quarterly report later today. Amazon said that it will provide not only its overall numbers, but it also will break out figures on its book, music and video stores. Market analysts expect Amazon to post a fourth-quarter loss of 48 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

The new look also follows a series of deals between Amazon and other e-commerce companies, which could result in changes to Amazon's home page. The company's recent agreements with Drugstore.com and Living.com, for instance, call for those companies to receive a permanent place on Amazon's home page.

Amazon began trying out the format today, Curry said. Many customers may still see Amazon's old design because the company is serving up the test page at random, he said.

Curry didn't know how long Amazon would test the page; the company hasn't decided to change to the new look permanently.

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