Posted on 06-28-2012
I wanted to make sure I address all the recent API ecosystem battles, so after putting the changes to the Netflix API in perspective, I wanted to talk about LinkedIn’s decision to shut off headhunting app, Pealk’s API access.
As Adam at ProgrammableWeb covered, the business social network LinkedIn is shutting off Pealk's access to its LinkedIn API over what LinkedIn calls a terms of service violation.
From the outside it’s really difficult to tell what’s going on. ProgrammableWeb and The Next Web both provide excellent coverage, I can’t add to what they offer. I just wanted to offer my perspective.
Pealk definitely looks like it could be in direct competition with LinkedIn premium services, but it is also easy to imagine that they could be storing more user data than the LinkedIn TOS allows. But with Pealk doing most of the talking, it’s easy to side with them, and root for the API ecosystem developer.
I also find it hard to believe that if LinkedIn did warn Pealk, that they wouldn’t change to stay in business--they have obviously put a lot of effort into their company. And without more communication from LinkedIn it’s easy to get suspicious about their motivations.
The ball is in LinkedIn’s court, and I’d hope they will release more of a statement to help alleviate concerns in the LinkedIn API developer community. If Pealk was in violation, they should release more details and possibly consider a probation period for Pealk, so they have a chance. If you aren’t threatened by their application, let the community know, otherwise we’ll just assume the worst.
I think this situation represents a lack of communication by LinkedIn, publicly and behind the scenes with Pealk. This is something other API owners can learn from, maybe by establishing a standardized approach to handling communication around TOS violations, in how you approach the violator as well as communicate with the public.
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