Disruption for Sellers Who Use Amazon Repricing Tools

July 26, 2012

With no fanfare or warning, Amazon in June began enforcing a long-standing policy prohibiting screen-scraping tools from harvesting listing information directly from its marketplace, a favorite tool for providers of repricing services for merchants, according to a third-party developer.

Amazon also apparently began shutting down access to the Product Advertising API (PAAPI) for some third-party marketplace services that had been using the tool to reprice listings on Amazon's own pages.

"The guys who were affiliates, they (were) allowed to keep using it," said Clark Hale, vice president of strategic relationships at ecommerce services provider Monsoon Commerce. "Folks that were flagged as third-party integrators were no longer allowed to use the PAAPI."  

The abruptness of that crackdown created significant alarm among sellers, adding to the confusion surrounding Amazon's impending transition to its Marketplace Web Service (MWS) API at the end of August.

"It played out practically that Amazon would randomly dial way back on throttling for certain requests, and people would find that their products just didn't work," said Zee Mehler, chief marketing officer at Appeagle, a provider of repricing software. "Random Tuesday and my repricer didn't work. Random Tuesday and their inventory management didn't work." 

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