It's time to start shopping around for another API to search for deals, prices and reviews. That it, if you use the Yahoo Shopping API (our Yahoo Shopping API profile). On March 11 Yahoo's service will be discontinued, replaced by a "strategic partnership" that will leave developers sniffing for deals elsewhere.
The Yahoo Shopping team, to its credit, posted the news to developers with plenty of notice:
After careful consideration, we have decided to enter into a strategic partnership with PriceGrabber to power the Product Submit functionality of Yahoo! Shopping as of March 11, 2010. As a result of these changes, Yahoo! will no longer provide the Shopping Web Services API, including Shopping Results (the "Yahoo! Shopping Syndication Services") to you as of March 11, 2010.
Careful considerations and strategic partnerships aren't much solace for developers, including the makers of the 21 Yahoo Shopping mashups we list, including Early Miser, shown below. The blog post recommends the PriceGrabber API (our PriceGrabber API profile), though it hardly matches the best parts of Yahoo's service: free and open.
There is no way to even browse the API methods available to developers without contacting the PriceGrabber business development team. And, without a price listing, developers are left assuming the service is out of their price range. We have an email into the PriceGrabber team and will update if we hear back.
Developers still have plenty of options. We recently wrote about the many shopping APIs available, most of them free to use. We now list 88 shopping APIs--well, 87 once you factor in the Yahoo Shopping shutdown.
Yahoo has done this before, most recently with MyBlogLog. On one hand, the company provides so many services, this is bound to happen. On another, with Yahoo still struggling, it's disconcerting to see them stiffling the developer community that has been innovating on top of its APIs.
Early comments on the announcement post convey developer disappointment and a fear about future cuts:
"I hope this new 'improved' Yahoo doesn't start cutting its innovative services like YQL, Delicious and its other developer tools. what's next on the chopping block?"
Backlash from developers over the closing of two search APIs in August led to a reversal of course for one of them. With the PriceGrabber partnership a major factor in this decision, that sort of outcome seems unlikely in this case.