So Mazo was rejected... Here's a bit more about it!
The Mazo rejection was featured in some high profile sites (Daring Fireball and Macworld) and in the MacBreak Weekly podcast (episode 116, around minute 53). That generated a lot of visits to the site and a bunch of nice e-mail feedback (some of them developers we admire). Here's a "thank you" to everybody.
On the Daring Fireball post, John Gruber asked:
[...] But why build the app before getting the go-ahead from Amazon, especially when Amazon’s policy regarding mobile clients is very clear?
First, the fun of developing it. Mazo is an app that we would like to use. Now we have it. Unfortunately it will not pay our bills (more about that later on), but at least we get to use it.
The second reason, is that sometimes I believe in Santa - I thought that if they saw a real app running and how cool it is, it would make it easier to approve it. Yes, how stupid of me. It's not how these huge companies work. But I didn't know they were rejecting ALL requests for apps on a mobile platforms, they could simply forbid the use of the API in mobile platforms. Of course some Googling could have saved me the disappointment - there are some horror stories about it. What pissed me off, though, is that they didn't even look at the app (we were monitoring the server).
Mazo was supposed to be free, but that doesn't mean that we didn't want to profit with it - we would have tagged all links with our Amazon Associate's tag. Everybody would be happy: Amazon sells more, users get a very nice and free Amazon client for iPhone/iPod touch and we earn a small percentage of the transaction.
Do we regret developing Mazo? Not a chance - It was a lot of fun developing it. Are we disappointed? Of course, mostly because it was turning out a very nice app.
People ask us why would Amazon forbid using the API on mobile devices. We have absolutely no idea, we only got a template-like e-mail saying:
[...] At this time Amazon is not generally allowing the use of Amazon Associates Web Services for mobile device applications, and we are not prepared to approve your request [...]
We have to live with it - they "are not prepared". There are, however, some apps on the App Store that allow searching Amazon products. No idea how they were allowed, or if they were allowed at all... I doubt that they asked permission for it.
At least some folks at Amazon.com got to see the video. So, mission accomplished!
-- The Empty Factory Team.
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PS - We still love Amazon.