Update Concerning Petfinder Preventing Pet Updates
As you may have already heard, Petfinder stopped supporting FTP data file uploads of adoptable pets from RescueGroups.org in May, 2007.
More recently, Petfinder also asked us to stop updating pets via the Petfinder web site on behalf of our non-profit partners.
These actions mean that thousands of organizations won’t be able to use their RescueGroups.org service to update their Petfinder pet list and will have to do so manually, as an extra step.
The organizations that have requested an FTP account or import setup so they can upload their own data have been denied simply because of their affiliation with RescueGroups.org. Uploads are allowed from 19 other software vendors, and even from individuals, but not from RescueGroups.org or the non-profit animal welfare organizations that use our services.
Petfinder would lead you to believe that we can simply use their API (Advanced Programming Interface) to get your pets from them, instead of us uploading data to them. In reality, the restrictions of the API service, along with the technical limitations of the API make it unfeasible. Because the Terms of Service (TOS) of the API require the data to remain unchanged, and with Petfinder logos and advertisements, we would be unable to send the data to any of our pet adoption partners.
In addition, if organizations became dependent on Petfinder for their pet data and livelihood, what would happen to them if Petfinder decided to cut them off or started charging for the data? If they went out of business because they lost access to that pet data, it would hurt the animals even more. That’s why all of the major adoption listing web sites (except Petfinder) have chosen to work with RescueGroups.org, a non-profit organization that puts the animals first.
(UPDATE 9/28/09: The Petfinder API is not a viable option for delivering your adoptable pets to the adoption listing web sites because Petfinder requires “Powered by Petfinder” credit (at a minimum) on any site using their data. The adoption listing web sites that compete with Petfinder will not allow that credit to be shown on their site, therefore we would Not be able to send your pets to them. In addition, if an adoption listing web site wanted to use pet data from the Petfinder API they could do so themselves, without RescueGroups.org being in the middle.)
The answer is for Petfinder to accept FTP uploads for all of our partners, not just the 443 organizations that were setup before May, 2007. We’ve contacted Petfinder numerous times and offered to do anything reasonable so that we can upload data for you. We provide the tools necessary (like the Messaging Center) to communicate with the users of our services and we’re open to other solutions that allow us to upload data on your behalf.
However, Petfinder has stated clearly to us and our users that they are not willing to do business with RescueGroups.org and that accepting data from us to save more pets does not fit their business model.
We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We’ve lost sleep on countless nights, and it’s very frustrating and disappointing to not be able to help you work more effectively in this way.
Our partners will have to update their pet list on both their RescueGroups.org service and directly on the Petfinder web site. We’re happy to provide new functionality in our services to make that process easier, like the HTML description popup, and the Manual Updates feature. Let us know if you need help understanding or using those new features.
Pets that you add to your RescueGroups.org service continue to appear on over two dozen web sites like Adopt a Pet, PETS911, DogTime.com and the Save a Dog Facebook application. We’re adding more sites every week with our own API and iframe capabilities, both of which do not include any advertisements or limitations.
Many of our export features aren’t available anywhere else, like animal locations, header/footer, as well as the Pet Adoption Toolkit and Pet Adoption Tracker. That’s above and beyond all of the extra fields, time saving templates, and security measures that make the Pet Adoption Portal, Data Management and Web Site services the fastest, easiest, and most secure place to put your pet information.
Stay tuned for several huge announcements concerning how your pets are getting even more exposure. We also will be announcing significant updates to our services, as well as new free and low-cost services we’ll be offering in the near future.
We thank you for your support and encouragement during this difficult time. We truly appreciate you and your mission.