Dear Mr. Bezos,
Recently we had to remove our iPhone and iPod Touch program Pocketpedia from the iTunes App Store because it synced Amazon information from our desktop applications to a mobile device and also allowed the Amazon catalog to be searched from a mobile device. The Amazon Product Advertising API provides reliable access to a wealth of information that benefits my company as a source of data and your company by encouraging more sales. We are unable to find a reason why this API service should explicitly exclude use on mobile devices.
Let me tell you a bit about our applications, in the hopes of changing your mind. The Pedia programs (DVDpedia, Bookpedia, CDpedia and Gamepedia) are used to build personal media catalogs. Users create a list of items they own, those that they have lent out and those they wish to buy in the future. It allows them to get organized and keep track of both past and future purchases. As you can appreciate, having their data on the go is a great reference and convenience.
It’s our belief that Pocketpedia does in no way compete with Amazon Mobile or SnapTell (which you recently acquired). They serve different markets: Pocketpedia is a home reference application while yours are shopping applications. Even if they did compete I don’t see a reason to suppress them as the winner will always be Amazon selling the final product. And iPhone users can only benefit from more options in the App Store. Of course you’re in a better position to decide what’s best for Amazon but from the outside the clauses excluding mobile devices seem like a losing situation for all: Amazon, customers and third-party developers.
Both clauses mention that written approval can be obtained to use the Amazon data on a mobile device, yet I can’t find a single app that has received this approval. In the hopes of positive changes at Amazon I would like to suggest that these clauses be dropped. If this is not possible, I formally request that Bruji as well as our competitor Delicious Monster (who have also run afoul of the mobile clause) be given permission to sync Amazon data to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Moreover, if Amazon is feeling kind, we also request the use of the Product Advertising API directly on the iPhone to search and add new items.
I write this as an open letter because getting a meaningful conversation going with Amazon has been impossible for both my customers and me. Your support system does not allow replies to emails sent directly from your Associates Account Specialist. Messages filled out in the Amazon contact page only get canned responses without explanations. The Amazon customer service has lost its touch in the last few years but more worrying is that Amazon has become increasingly closed, controlling and unfriendly. I know that our users have been writing to Amazon in the past week to register their dismay about the loss of Pocketpedia and I would like to be able to give them positive news thanks to their efforts.
Hoping for change,