When Zappos released its API, there was a strange restriction: no mobile applications. While sometimes lawyers write terms that aren’t formally enforced, Zappos made it clear on its API mailing list that it was serious. Soon, the restriction will be removed and mobile applications will be allowed without written approval.
In another post to the mailing list Will Young says the change was based on developer response:
Based on your quick feedback, we will be removing the restriction from our T&C’s regarding mobile applications.
It’s still important that the other parts of our terms are followed.
- Don’t misrepresent your application as an official Zappos application (this includes having Zappos or any misspelling of Zappors or a Zappos TM in the name)
- Properly attribute content coming from Zappos
- Don’t use our proprietary content (reviews, multi-image views) that link to non-Zappos sites
The original restriction, Young says, was because Zappos wasn’t sure about its API or mobile strategy. Obviously, the terms were meant to stop mobile apps that might compete with Zappos’ own forthcoming products. But for developers, it was a perplexing rule, especially since so much innovation is happening in mobile.
Thankfully, Zappos will remove the restriction on mobile apps. An open API is far less open with an entire class of application disallowed. And, in the end, the burgeoning Zappos API community will be the better for it.