txtreviews

Amazon Killing ECS Access From Mobile Services (Updated)

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This is coming in late on a Saturday, so we only have one side of the story so far. But Canadian startup TXTReviews, which allows people to get book and movie user ratings via text message, says they’re being shut out of Amazon web services.

In a message on their website, the company is actually saying Amazon has banned all mobile startups from accessing web services, but I can’t find any statement by Amazon on this, and the web services forum has no mention of it that I can find.

I’ve got a couple of emails in to Amazon to see if they’ll comment. As we’ve seen in the past, there are often two sides to these stories. Until we’ve heard from them, I’m not going to speculate any further on this.

TXTReviews founder Hussein Fazal says he’ll look for other data services to replace Amazon.

Other services we’ve covered roughly in this area are a rumored Toshiba service that would push blog reviews to shoppers who take a picture of a bar code and send it in, and a number of services that give pricing information via text message.

Update: From an Amazon spokesperson – this is limited to Amazon E-commerce service, a free data service in exchange for sending traffic back to Amazon):

1/ This has nothing to do with our infrastructure web services–EC2, S3, etc. This only concerns the Amazon E-Commerce Service (ECS), the free service that lets developers use our product data in exchange for driving traffic back to Amazon.com. As you know, our infrastructure services are pay-by-the-drink services with completely different terms and conditions as ECS, mainly because they have a different purpose for Amazon.com (ECS is about driving traffic to our site).

2/ Now with regards to just ECS, we do limit access by some mobile-focused companies to just that service. Its says in our license agreement for that service that developers must first get permission
from Amazon Web Services prior to using Amazon ECS in connection with any handheld, mobile, or mobile phone application (see 5.1.4 here) . The reason is that it’s very early days in the mobile space and
Amazon.com is still thinking through how to best serve customers who
want to use mobile devices to shop on Amazon.com. At this point, we’re
being cautious about exposing our catalog data for use in the mobile
space.

3/ I hope you can see now how off-base the current headline is. We would really appreciate you changing that and clarifying the story as soon as you can. [Editor note: headline has been updated]

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