Third-Party API Usage Policy FAQ

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90 Night Elf Hunter
11770
best example of what i can think of that is allowed for charging ... i host profiles they update once every 24 hours sometimes 36 depending on how hi the lat is in the api say i wana charge $2 a month and you get updated every 6 insted access to the same info but im only covering bandwidth on my host for the dl from the api basicly free and paid have to have the exact same features from the api you cant promote "upgrade to a gold member and get raid and character feeds!" this would violate the tos of the api
85 Human Mage
4730
I've been working on an iOS app for a couple weeks now and I'm trying to figure out if I have to stop.

As I read the passages it seems to me that I can't sell my app at all if it accesses Blizzard API's, even if the app adds features and functionality on top of the data that gets pulled. According to the guidelines: "nor can players be charged money to download an application...when those features use the API."

Does this mean that all apps that use the API must be free or just that you can't charge extra to enable API interaction?
90 Human Warlock
0
I really think this is crystal-clear:

"Premium" versions of applications offering additional for-pay features are not permitted, nor can players be charged money to download an application, charged for services related to the application, or otherwise be required to offer some form of monetary compensation to download or access an application when those features use the API. Applications may not include interstitials soliciting donations before features or functionality becomes available to the player.


No cost can be imposed on the users of applications that interact with the third-party API, period. This would include 'purchases', 'subscription fees', 'premiums', and anything else of the sort, which also includes any charges to 'cover costs'. The only thing that may not be completely clear is that the wording does not seem to explicitly disallow donations to be made to authors; It does, however, make it clear that forcing donations or pulling a 'donate 5 bucks to remove this waiting screen' sort of thing is out of the question.

If you have an application in mind that is likely to incur large costs to yourself that you would be unable to cover, it's probably best to shelve it. You may be able to rely on others to donate generously and assist you in maintaining the project, but you will not have a guarantee of such. I won't comment on likelihood; I'll simply offer that whatever the odds are, you'll be stuck footing the bill if you lose your gamble.

The whole purpose of an API is to leverage the innovation of others.
This policy disallows profit, which disincentivizes innovation.


This policy limits profit; it doesn't (appear to) disallow it. Even if it did, profit incentivizes exploitation. While that's not necessarily a crime if you do it on the back of your own work and dime, Blizzard allowing third-party developers to exploit its playerbase for the developers' personal gain certainly does not coincide with the goal to "ensure the integrity of our games and to help promote an enjoyable gaming environment for all of our players," as quoted from the very head of the policy.
Edited by Ruubi on 12/15/2011 12:53 PM PST
2 Night Elf Hunter
0
How long do apps that are in violation of charging for an app that uses the Armory data have to remove their charge or comply with the change? I know Ask Mr. Robot is currently still charging for the droid app 1.99$
85 Orc Hunter
7715
@Straton @Blizzard

What about the model I'm currently working with: (For the sake of simplicity, I'm leaving out what they do, but it should be self explanatory)

My model is made up of three (3) distinct applications: The S c r a p e r (open sourced, home on Github), The Database (closed sourced), and The Client (Both a Free/Premium version, closed sourced).

The S c r a p e r contains all my API calls to Blizzard's API. It will communicate, via a network, to The Database. The Database then in turn serves the certain data to The Client, free or premium, depending on the subscription.

As of the current policy, this method would be valid since the "application" (The S c r a p e r) that uses the API is indeed open sourced. The Database, which acts as a proxy between The Client (Free/Premium) and The S c r a p e r, allows me manipulate the data behind the scenes, keeping my proprietary functions/code/algorithms safe.

Also, I can justify having a premium client because "database/servers ain't free."

Let me know if anyone sees this being against the current Policy!

Edit: fix you regular expressions... s c r a p e r should not be censored...
Edited by Dandraffbal on 12/15/2011 10:27 AM PST
90 Human Mage
0
How long do apps that are in violation of charging for an app that uses the Armory data have to remove their charge or comply with the change? I know Ask Mr. Robot is currently still charging for the droid app 1.99$



Using Amory data for a web app is very different though than using the in game API.

People cannot charge you for a mod, they can charge you for using their service that does data mining. Armory data is publicly available, and app created to display that data, seems would not fall into the API license restriction.

In short this doesn't seem to apply to a 1.99 iphone app, that allows you to crawl publicly available data. Such app do not use any Blizz provided API, they use web crawlers.

Seems weird you are trying to get something that you really like/want for free when you should actually be happy to support the developer of a product you seem to dearly want to use.
Edited by Gwendoline on 12/15/2011 10:22 AM PST
Web & Mobile Team
12/15/2011 10:19 AMPosted by Vicman
How long do apps that are in violation of charging for an app that uses the Armory data have to remove their charge or comply with the change? I know Ask Mr. Robot is currently still charging for the droid app 1.99$


I'm really not at liberty to comment on the specifics of application policy to anyone other than the application's developers.
Edited by Straton on 12/15/2011 12:08 PM PST
Web & Mobile Team
@Straton @Blizzard

What about the model I'm currently working with: (For the sake of simplicity, I'm leaving out what they do, but it should be self explanatory)

My model is made up of three (3) distinct applications: The S c r a p e r (open sourced, home on Github), The Database (closed sourced), and The Client (Both a Free/Premium version, closed sourced).

The S c r a p e r contains all my API calls to Blizzard's API. It will communicate, via a network, to The Database. The Database then in turn serves the certain data to The Client, free or premium, depending on the subscription.

As of the current policy, this method would be valid since the "application" (The S c r a p e r) that uses the API is indeed open sourced. The Database, which acts as a proxy between The Client (Free/Premium) and The S c r a p e r, allows me manipulate the data behind the scenes, keeping my proprietary functions/code/algorithms safe.

Also, I can justify having a premium client because "database/servers ain't free."

Let me know if anyone sees this being against the current Policy!

Edit: fix you regular expressions... s c r a p e r should not be censored...


If you have three distinct applications, then each of them are subject to the Third-Party API Usage policy. Without knowing more about them, I really can't comment. If you have a specific question about your application then I suggest you contact api-support@blizzard.com.
90 Human Warlock
0
@Dandraffbal

My first impression is that your idea seems to satisfy the need for code to be visible, based on Straton's response to Fuitad, in that it would presumably make visible any interactions made with the Blizzard API. Once you get down to the matter of "the Client", though, I'm going to bet that no matter how many layers you put between the API calls and the presentation of that information, you're not going to be able to charge for that. The idea itself makes it all too simple to undermine the purpose of that aspect of the policy. If in fact that's the case, it might be worthwhile for the policy to make that clear.
2 Blood Elf Rogue
0
So Blizzard charge 10€ for a simple name change, which is just a simple update in a database, but wanna forbid to charge small fees for sites which put alot of effort and resources in it for some premium features, which ppl dont have to buy nor need, thats a nice morale stance.

Would like to see the forum flood and the shrinking player base, if all big sites which offer some sort of premium feature close.

Personally I don't run anything with 'premium' features nor do I plan so, but that part of the terms just feel wrong.
85 Gnome Rogue
6255
So Blizzard charge 10€ for a simple name change, which is just a simple update in a database, but wanna forbid to charge small fees for sites which put alot of effort and resources in it for some premium features, which ppl dont have to buy nor need, thats a nice morale stance.

Would like to see the forum flood and the shrinking player base, if all big sites which offer some sort of premium feature close.

Personally I don't run anything with 'premium' features nor do I plan so, but that part of the terms just feel wrong.

okay, and that is your right. just as it is blizzard's to protect their intellectual property from being monetized without their permission to do so.
90 Human Warlock
4270
I think Ruubi summed it up correctly, if you cannot afford to incur the costs of hosting and developing an app then you should stop working on your idea. That's the decision I've come to at least. (I wish I hadn't purchased a domain name already, lol) I don't think Google ads included in my web app would cover the costs of hosting a moderately popular site. The policy is a shame though, you look at something like the Twitter API where you can build out full premium products with it that makes money for the developer and improves the overall Twitter experience by giving users more options. I would think if Blizzard would allow developers to at least cover the bills that everybody would win, developers get some kickback for their effort and the community gets some awesome apps that increases the stickiness of the game.
2 Blood Elf Rogue
0
12/15/2011 12:39 PMPosted by Eree
I think Ruubi summed it up correctly, if you cannot afford to incur the costs of hosting and developing an app then you should stop working on your idea. That's the decision I've come to at least. (I wish I hadn't purchased a domain name already, lol) I don't think Google ads included in my web app would cover the costs of hosting a moderately popular site. The policy is a shame though, you look at something like the Twitter API where you can build out full premium products with it that makes money for the developer and improves the overall Twitter experience by giving users more options. I would think if Blizzard would allow developers to at least cover the bills that everybody would win, developers get some kickback for their effort and the community gets some awesome apps that increases the stickiness of the game.


Or get big enough.

http://www.wowhead.com/premium#related-features

They use at least the api for:
A free pass to the front of the Armory queue whenever you request Profiler resyncs.

or do the forbidden html sc*!%#** for it ;)

And Blizzard would never do something against them, they are too big and the negative publicity would hurt them alot ;)
85 Undead Warlock
10365
I think Ruubi summed it up correctly, if you cannot afford to incur the costs of hosting and developing an app then you should stop working on your idea. That's the decision I've come to at least. (I wish I hadn't purchased a domain name already, lol) I don't think Google ads included in my web app would cover the costs of hosting a moderately popular site. The policy is a shame though, you look at something like the Twitter API where you can build out full premium products with it that makes money for the developer and improves the overall Twitter experience by giving users more options. I would think if Blizzard would allow developers to at least cover the bills that everybody would win, developers get some kickback for their effort and the community gets some awesome apps that increases the stickiness of the game.


Or get big enough.

http://www.wowhead.com/premium#related-features

They use at least the api for:
A free pass to the front of the Armory queue whenever you request Profiler resyncs.

or do the forbidden html sc*!%#** for it ;)

And Blizzard would never do something against them, they are too big and the negative publicity would hurt them alot ;)


or the two companies have an agreement already that we are not privy to....its a business, companies are under no obligation to disclose agreements or contracts that they may or may not have with other companies, its between them. It is also completely up to blizzard how and if it will react to someone offering a service they feel violates or infringes upon their products.
Edited by Hâirydotter on 12/15/2011 1:34 PM PST
90 Worgen Warrior
13585
The new policy regarding 3rd Party access essentially appears to be forcing developers to move to an Open Source platform.


"Premium" versions of applications offering additional for-pay features are not permitted, nor can players be charged money to download an application, charged for services related to the application, or otherwise be required to offer some form of monetary compensation to download or access an application when those features use the API. Applications may not include interstitials soliciting donations before features or functionality becomes available to the player.


Essentially if I am to determine this jargon correctly, it appears that any feature (making an API call) that exists in a "premium" version of an application must also exist in the "free" version of an application and be unmodified. Requiring the source code be exposed for these calls would essentially allow Blizzard (and others) the ability to visually verify that this practice is being followed.

However, application compilers naturally obfuscate the coding of the object to a machine readable language. This would essentially limit application development to specific plain text development tools (JavaScript, HTML, PHP, ASP, etc.) to be in compliance.

This also puts unskilled developers at risk of exposing vital portions of their application including proprietary methods, functions, etc.

I understand that Blizzard doesn’t want to developers to make money off of their product, but this type of control essentially limits development by the community and forces cost on developers to create open source, free applications…

Bad form… :| -- Just scrapped my project.
Edited by Sklaninhaos on 12/15/2011 1:42 PM PST
85 Human Death Knight
0
A lot of questions are currently waiting for answers and/or clarification.

Let's give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt here and wait until all answers have been given before assuming that they're out to destroy the developers that are doing what they do because they love their brands/games, shall we?
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