Open APIs: Why Bother? Here are 5 Reasons

Adam DuVander
Dec. 09 2010, 12:00AM EST

The Woodstock for Developers took place on Monday, with many convening for the free event that brought some of the big names in APIs together. ProgrammableWeb founder John Musser spoke about the open API ecosystem. One of the important questions to ask for providers considering an API is "Why?" Below are five reasons from Musser's talk.

eBayMake Money
That's not bad on its own, is it? The eBay API is a strong platform, with many businesses built off of just listing applications. It's paid off for eBay, because 60% of listings are added via the API. Earlier this year we looked at how to make money with your API.

Amazon S3Save Money
Amazon, like eBay, has led the charge with making money via its API. But it also helps companies save money. For example, SmugMug saves more than half a million a year by using the Amazon S3 API for storage.

Google MapsBuild Brand
There's no doubt that the Google Maps API has been a big win for Google, as well as the web in general. To many, the service is synonymous with "mashup." It certainly helps that the company's logo is on many of the maps across the web.

Salesforce.comMove to the Cloud
Cloudstock was all about the cloud and the organizers at certainly know a thing or two about it. Over 50% of their transactions take place via the API.

NetflixGo Anywhere
If you already have a great product, an API can help you bring it to your customers wherever they are. Thanks to the
Netflix API, the company's service is now available on over 200 devices. When Daniel Jacobson, Netflix's API Director of Engineering, was at NPR, he championed the idea that an API helps you create once and publish everywhere. That's exactly what Netflix has done.

That's five reasons to bother with open APIs. For more API nuggets, including some of the most competitive API markets, see Musser's slides, embedded below.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.



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