IFTTT tries to strong arm Pinboard

March 29th, 2016

Maciej Cegłowski on Pinboard’s blog:

It’s entirely IFTTT’s decision to drop support for Pinboard (along with a bunch of other sites). They are the ones who are going to flip the switch on working code on April 4, and they could just as easily flip the switch back on (or even write an IFTTT recipe that does it for them). Weigh their claims about Pinboard being a beloved service accordingly.

Platforms mature and will, inevitably, have more requirements as they get more features. Apple News, as an example, demands that content be provided in a specific format — much akin to RSS — so that publications will be shown in the best light in the app. If Apple News had, say, 15 users, I’m sure Apple News would be doing all the work to get content from Time Magazine, The New York Times, etc. into the app. However, that isn’t the case. It is up to the publisher to provide all of the content in a digestible format.

Facebook Instant Articles are similar. A homegrown HTML/XML/JSON spec to help publishers have their content provided instantly to Facebook users. Facebook doesn’t write your code for you. You do.

The IFTTT platform is not only maturing but so is their business and that means more rules around what it is they own, don’t own, want to be liable for, do not want to be liable for, etc. Have you ever wondered why the Terms of Service of your favorite apps are updated every year or more? It is because as they raise more capital, get more lawyers, and move into broader markets, they have to protect themselves.

So both the IFTTT platform requirements and the business terms maturing is a totally normal thing. This sort of thing happens all the time. It is just unfortunate how IFTTT has chosen to use language that looks a lot like strong arming. I think they picked the wrong guy to strong arm.