Blippy, the Twitter-like service that lets users publish the details of all their purchases, is just a couple of months old. But it already got Stephen Colbert’s attention (thumbs up). And now it has Amazon’s too (thumbs down).
Cofounder Philip Kaplan first mentioned that Amazon had turned off Blippy’s access to the service on an episode of TWiST with Jason Calacanis. I spoke to Kaplan tonight about Amazon’s reaction to Blippy.
He says they didn’t block Blippy, but simply insisted that the service stop pulling user purchase data, and erase all historical data they had already collected. They were also summoned to Seattle to speak with a “high ranking executive” of the company. Blippy complied (with both the summons and the demand to stop accessing user data).
Kaplan is soft stepping around the Amazon issue, and is hoping to come to some agreement with the company to allow them to access data in the future. He says “We believe our users feel strongly, as we do, that it is their right to access and use their data however they want. We’re optimistic that Amazon will come to the same conclusion.”
None of the other thirteen companies Blippy takes data from have complained, Kaplan says. And he notes that users must actually request data to be collected before Blippy begins to do that.
There is certainly an issue with how Blippy collects data – by storing user credentials on their own servers. But Blippy says they use APIs to log users in when available. And that may be the issue Amazon has with Blippy.
But it doesn’t explain why they’re insisting Blippy delete historical data that’s already been collected. The users have given their permission, and in fact have indicated that they want this data to be moved to Blippy. And it is the users’ data, after all. Amazon would be smart to remember that.
Perhaps, and I’m speculating here, there’s a reason Amazon doesn’t want all this data published. They’ve engaged in variable pricing in the past to test the demand curve, for example. They certainly may be using it again.