Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby ltcarter47 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:20 pm

Midori wrote:Will you offer a lighter version without the search? I would be interested, especially if there is series / number in series support for bookpedia (think "belgian comics", ...)

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That would be great (since I actually rarely used the search in the app itself, it was just really nice to have my Pedias on the go). But is that even possible? I don't know what the actual TOS are, but just based on the title of this thread, since it's using synced data that originated from Amazon, does that apply?
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby Nora » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:40 pm

Unfortunately we can't even offer a 'light' version without the search - not only is searching not allowed but it's about the synced data that originated from Amazon in the desktop Pedias. That data is not allowed to go onto a mobile device.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby sjk » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:21 pm

Nora wrote:it's about the synced data that originated from Amazon in the desktop Pedias. That data is not allowed to go onto a mobile device.

Crap! Thanks for clarifying that.

I'd happily not not use any Amazon data in DVDpedia if it meant Pocketpedia could survive.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby evg2000 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:23 pm

Bummer,
I was really looking forward to the update.

Wish there was something we could do as a community to get Amazon to change there mind and understand that the product might help boost sales for them.

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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby whshep » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:47 pm

There is something we can all do. Go to Amazon's Help page, click on Contact Us, and register your complaint. Here's mine, sent today:

Let me register my absolute dismay that your new TOS policies for mobile devices have spelt the demise of Pocketpedia on the iPhone.

I think this is senseless and shortsighted on your part, as Pocketpedia was in no way any competition to Amazon--quite the opposite. Pocketpedia allows me to have a complete list of the books, cds, and dvds that I own with me at all times. In a store, I can check whether I already own an item before I buy--or more likely, before I check Amazon's price, which is usually lower.

Now, however, I am much less inclined to purchase from Amazon, as you are taking this capacity away from me. I can't imagine what business you think this is going to bring you, because it will certainly mean fewer purchases from people like me.

Oh well, there's always Barnes & Noble, which has a nice new iPhone app!


Let me encourage everyone to contact Amazon about Pocketpedia. Be polite, but make it clear this is going to cost Amazon some business (sorry, I couldn't resist the dig about B&N). Amazon got where it is today by being highly sensitive to its customers. If we submit reasoned complaints, we may get some action.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby evg2000 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:22 pm

I have sent a complaint to amazon also.

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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby thajeztah » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:27 pm

Maybe we should all order Amazon to remove the data WE provided them; Reviews, Ratings, Favorites, Wish Lists, 'Things other buyers also bought that you might like'.

After all, most of the data they provide is entered by the public! By US!

Without this, Amazon would be nowhere!
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby thajeztah » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:23 pm

Nora wrote:Unfortunately we can't even offer a 'light' version without the search - it's about the synced data that originated from Amazon in the desktop Pedias. That data is not allowed to go onto a mobile device.

So I'm not allowed to receive my Amazon newsletter on my iPod, or browse their website with Safari on my iPod (or Macbook, as that is quite mobile..) :roll:

I really don't understand this... some thoughts;
  • Although the data is retrieved from Amazon, the content is copyrighted by the publishers (book description/summary) or other (Reviews by 'Publishers Weekly')
  • Order numbers, ISBN/EAN numbers aren't copyrighted, as is generic information, like the product description?

Furthermore;
If I fill my Pedia completely by hand, or using other sources than Amazon, I should be allowed to send that data to my iPod. (Pocket)Pedia only stores the information. If it's illegal to have that information, I should be responsible for that, not Bruji. Amazon should send me a letter to remove that information from my computer and/or iPod. (their disclaimer says that I'm not allowed to store any information from the website). Any (database) application that allows me to sync data to my iPod will be illegal (after all, I'm able to copy/paste information from their site and add it to my database).

On closing; options to (possibly) comply to their conditions;
  • Tag all records/fields that contain data that originated from Amazon (basically all records containing a 'asin' number). Sync only basic information from those records to the iPod/iPhone (title, publisher, isbn, date purchased, last read)
  • Records that have been entered manually can be synced
  • 'Lock' fields that are retrieved from Amazon for editing. If I unlock the field, it will be emptied so I can enter my own information.
  • Only use different sources, many alternatives already exist.
  • Allow people to write their own plugins (think it's already possible), but do so at their own risk/responsibility; If they break the law creating a plugin that retrieves data from Amazon, it's not Bruji's responsibility, but the writer/user of the plugin.


I hope PocketPedia will survive in one way or another, as it is the only way to keep track of my collections on the road. I really need it to keep track of my collection, for example when I'm at a record-collectors fair looking for specific editions (pressings).
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby Zorglub » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:45 pm

I am also very disappointed by this decision.
As many other people here, i use Pocketpedia only to keep track of my collections on the road, and not to search Amazon site (I own an iPod Touch, so being connected on the road is not very frequent ...).
And most of the datas describing my collections were typed by me (or extracted from imdb.com, for DVD), and are not coming from Amazon.
In fact, I have bought bookpedia and DVDpedia after discovering Pocketpedia, to transfer the datas I had previously typed on my Palm.

I really hope the clever people from Bruji will find a solution to deliver us an "Amazon free" Pocketpedia.

I also have just sent the following message (in french) to Amazon.fr 's customer service :
Bonjour,
Je suis depuis de nombreuses années un client régulier - et satisfait - de votre site.
Pour gérer mes collections de livres et de DVD, en partie achetées sur votre site, j'utilise sur mon ordinateur Apple les applications Bookpedia et DVDpedia, qui correspondent pleinement à mes besoins. Il y a environ un an, Bruji (l'éditeur de ces deux applications) a développé Pocketpedia, une application complémentaire pour iPhone/iPod Touch. Elle me permet d'avoir à tout moment sur moi la liste de mes livres et mes films, ce qui est vraiment précieux

Je viens d'apprendre que vous exigez la suppression de Pocketpedia : http://bruji.com/articles/2009/07/17/by ... cketpedia/
Cette demande me parait totalement inappropriée : d'une part, Pocketpedia ne nuit en rien à votre activité, bien au contraire. En connaissant à tout moment et en tous lieux mes collections, cela facilite grandement mes achats, dont ceux effectués sur votre site.
D'autre part, la quasi totalité des données présentes dans Pocketpedia sont celles que j'ai saisies moi même, et pas celles issus de votre site.

En conséquence, j'espère que vous reviendrez sur votre décision, et permettrez à Bruji de maintenir Pocketpedia, voire de le développer : la complémentarité entre les applications de Bruji et votre site en sera renforcée.
Faute de quoi, mon appréciation de votre entreprise changera fortement, et je me retournerai probablement vers vos concurrents pour effectuer mes prochains achats.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby Nora » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:52 pm

Thanks for all your support! This really does mean a lot to us. Do keep letting Amazon know about your dismay too - together with unhappy DL users who got their program pulled from the App Store as well maybe we can be just loud enough to force a change.

Other data sources are always an option, especially since the Pedias already provide access to many different sites other than Amazon. They just have one of the most thorough databases, especially for the media we're interested in (DVDs, CDs, books and games) and that does make them a very attractive partner. Other sites are starting to put up their own APIs to make it easier for developers to integrate and we're hoping that this trend will continue. (For example DiscoGS, one of the search sites available in CDpedia, recently added an API to their site - yay!)

In the meantime - because the desktop Pedias were using the same access key as Pocketpedia and this key has been killed by Amazon, we had to release an update to DVDpedia, Bookpedia, CDpedia and Gamepedia with a new access key to ensure that your searches on Amazon will continue to work. So make sure you download the latest version of the programs, 4.5.1. If you want to read more about this, take a look at our recent blog posts.

We haven't given up hope on a Pocketpedia comeback even though at the moment we're working on containing trouble for the desktop Pedias since those are our bread and butter. But we're already thinking about possible ways of resurrecting Pocketpedia that would not infringe on Amazon's license agreement yet keep the program as useful as the current version. Thank you for all the suggestions and ideas.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby evg2000 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:57 pm

Amazon's response to my complaint:

Hello,

Thanks for your suggestion about allowing the Pocketpedia iPhone app. Customer feedback like yours is very important in helping us continue to improve our services. I appreciate your thoughts, and I'll be sure to pass your suggestion along to the appropriate people in our company.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

links clipped

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,

Jack Z.
Amazon.com
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company
http://www.amazon.com/your-account
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby sjk » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:21 pm

Nora wrote:Thanks for all your support! This really does mean a lot to us.

Hopefully your customers feel the same for your support and open communication; at least I do. :)

We haven't given up hope on a Pocketpedia comeback even though at the moment we're working on containing trouble for the desktop Pedias since those are our bread and butter.

Totally understandably and acceptable.

But we're already thinking about possible ways of resurrecting Pocketpedia that would not infringe on Amazon's license agreement yet keep the program as useful as the current version. Thank you for all the suggestions and ideas.

Before this fiasco I'd been thinking about enhancements for Pocketpedia to avoid dependency on Amazon, though that's possibly easier for me currently only using DVDpedia.

I've always had positive experiences with Amazon and dismissed many of the criticisms of them as ridiculous. Even though this is my first negative experience the overall significance of it is too important to ignore so I'll definitely be sending them feedback soon.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby thajeztah » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:16 am

@sjk
exactly my thoughts. Thanks to the Bruji team for all the effort they put into this. Any way I can be of help, I will :D

@Zorglub
That's a very nice written feedback to Amazon. I hope they'll listen to us... their customers, as good as Bruji does :)
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby talazem » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:40 am

Just adding another voice of support for Bruji finding another way to bring back PocketPedia. I rely on this app to check whether I have a particular book or edition of a book, as well as to quickly keep tabs of books lent out.

I have been a "prime" member of Amazon for a few years now, and — despite all my reservations of giving so much information about me to a corporation — I have been buying many of my books through them. Such strong-arm tactics remind us all that the more friendly a corporation's PR, the more we should be worried. My point simply being that I'd rather give up Amazon, and take my business elsewhere using bookfinder.com and the like, than give up PocketPedia.

Of course, I know this doesn't make good business sense for the people at Bruji — I know nothing compares to Amazon for their needs. So let me just request that you do find a way to bring back PocketPedia.

And I think this episode should also make us reflect on what such a large company like Amazon can effectively do to other smaller, reliant companies. If they did this to mobile apps, are there any guarantees they wouldn't do this to desktop apps in the future? And if that is a possibility, then perhaps companies like Bruji would need to have a 'plan B' in case such privately-held information as received from Amazon might be a liability in the long-term? I'm not well-read on these topics, but are there no open-source projects that could replace this reliance, especially if developers such as Bruji and Delicious Monster got behind them?

To top it off, I just saw this: eBook pulled not just off of Amazon, but off of people's Kindles. http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/some-e-books-are-more-equal-than-others/ I understand the idea of "pirated books", but still — the ability to pull these things off of people's machine's without warning is a bit 1984 itself, isn't it?

Sorry for the rant. But I think we should reflect on what this all means insofar as digital access to information and corporations/large companies are concerned.

All the best to Bruji.
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Re: Amazon Killing Mobile Apps That Use Its Data

Postby Midori » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:51 am

Erm, someone could help me with my message? I am willing to write to amazon.co.uk (where I am a regular customer), but my English especially in that kind of situation is... well... less than optimal. Not only do I not know how to say things, I do not know how to express what I think about their decision without being impolite :oops: Anyone could help?

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