Although it's not required, setting up an Associate ID at http://affiliate-program.amazon .com/gp/associates/join allows Amazon to credit your site when your visitors click on an Amazon.com link and purchase a product. If you're feeling generous, the Amazon module also allows you to use the Drupal Association's ID, automatically donating any commissions from purchases to support the Drupal project.
The Amazon module is what's known as an "API" module—it uses an "Application Programming Interface" to give Drupal developers access to another website's data or another program's functionality. Similar modules allow Drupal sites to retrieve maps from the Google Maps web service, post messages to the Twitter microblogging service, synchronize dates and events with the Upcoming.org calendar site, and more.
Hundreds of these API modules are available in the "Third-party integration" category of the http://drupal.org downloads section (http://drupal.org/project/modules/category/ 52). If you'd like to connect your Drupal site to a popular website, it's worth checking that page out.
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