Yahoo's API Terms and Conditions are really Harsh

Paul Kinlan

I have been a long time advocator of Yahoo’s developer API’s, they had a high API usage limits and fairly flexible terms and conditions.

That is until recently.

Yahoo has updated their T & C’s just recently, and I am sure that they have been tightened just enough to stifle innovation and competition.

  1. You are no longer allowed to have any sort of advertising on your site that displays any Yahoo API results. Unless it is a Yahoo Advert! Therefore there are a lot of sites out their that are breaking Yahoo’s T & C’s including
    1. http://gada.be (unless they have special arrangements, in which case I will remove this)
    2. Lots of the example applications that people have created include Google Adsense adverts.
  2. You are no longer allowed to display Yahoo’s search results alongside any other search engines search results. So all your Meta search engines are now breaking their contracts (including the two examples above)

Why they are specific about this is that they do not want to lose out to the completion, so by having adverts on your site you are giving money to someone else and not them, likewise with the Meta Results, they are worried that you are in completion with them and also that another search engine may be getting the same exposure are they would be.

After reading their T’s & C’s for RSS Feed searches, I think you are allowed to use them in an application that aggregates data alongside other search engine results and also with advertising. So that might be just enough to get around the licence. I have updated www.topicala.com/ to use the RSS feed.

I am writing this to let other people know, so that they don’t fall into the same trap that I have done.

I really don’t understand their issue with this, because as long as they are getting attribution to their services they are getting extra users to their services that they probably would not have got in the first place. Topicala.com for instance has Yahoo results as the primary results, with the associated RSS feed easily subscribeable to. (I know that lots of people are subscribing to their results).

For www.Topicala.com sake Google and MSN don’t complain about all this free advertising.

Anyway, until the licensing becomes more flexible I can no longer recommend Yahoo as a company that I would suggest to use, nor can I suggest that their API’s are some of the best out their.

Paul Kinlan

Trying to make the web and developers better.

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