A new application, called Scoop, has been released in the iPhone App store
for the rock-bottom price of $0.99. Scoop is virtually a clone of the web-based DIGG application (read after the fold for quick review).
In fact, it uses DIGG’s API for all of its data.
And therein lies the problem.
Based on Digg’s API License Agreement,
access to their API cannot be used for any commercial purpose (see below bold
text of interest):
GRANT OF LICENSE – Subject to your ("Licensee’s") full compliance with all of the terms and conditions of this API Agreement ("Agreement"), Digg, Inc. ("Digg") grants Licensee a non-exclusive, revocable, nonsublicensable, nontransferable license to download and use the Digg application program interface and other materials provided by Digg (collectively, "APIs") to develop, reproduce and distribute non-commercial applications that interoperate with Digg.com or any other web property owned by Digg ("Digg Applications"). Licensee may not install or use the APIs for any other purpose (including without limit any commercial purpose) without Digg’s prior written consent. For the sake of clarity, the sale of advertising on a website where a Digg Application is hosted shall not alone constitute a commercial use under this Agreement, provided that the advertising is not integrated within the Digg Application itself. Licensee shall not use the APIs in connection with or to promote any products, services, or materials that constitute, promote or are used primarily for the purpose of dealing in: spyware, adware, or other malicious programs or code, counterfeit goods, items subject to U.S. embargo, unsolicited mass distribution of email ("spam"), multi-level marketing proposals, hate materials, hacking/surveillance/interception/descrambling equipment, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive or otherwise offensive content, prostitution, body parts and bodily fluids, stolen products and items used for theft, fireworks, explosives, and hazardous materials, government IDs, police items, gambling, professional services regulated by state licensing regimes, non-transferable items such as airline tickets or event tickets, weapons and accessories.
This is not the first API-based application was released commercially, then had to become free due to
the API’s license agreement. For example, the developer of the 1337pwn.com
app was asked by Microsoft to make his app available for free due to API agreement restrictions (i.e.
developers cannot commercialize their applications).
Still, some questions remain:
1. Did the developer got permission from DIGG to commercialize his application?
2. If no exception was granted, how long it will take DIGG to make this application free? FYI, developer of 1337pwn.com app was contacted by Microsoft within one day.
SCOOP QUICK REVIEW
At first we were excited about this application, since we find the mobile version of DIGG limiting.
Right now, the best option is to use the non-mobile version of DIGG on the iPhone browser
— but due to browser instability, you will not go far.
So the question remains: is this app worth a dollar?
On the one hand:
- Scoop allows you to select how many stories you can see on the page
- It can email a story with push of the button
On the other hand:
- DIGG mobile users can login and digg stories
- It’s a free app, and accessible through Safari
Advantage: DIGG mobile.
So: despite our early interest in this application, we quickly realized that it is a clone of DIGG mobile without ability to digg
— which kind of defeats the whole purpose. For that reason alone — and
despite the low price — we cannot recommend this app.