7-Eleven Launches First API And It's Not for Slurpees

Adam DuVander
Aug. 30 2012, 09:19AM EDT

The ubiquitous U.S. corner store 7-Eleven is helping with an unlikely type of convenience: polling in the upcoming U.S. election. For the last three elections, the store has made red and blue cups to represent the candidates. When customers come to get their coffee, they have the opportunity to "vote" for one of the two main parties. For the upcoming election, that data will be included in the 7-Eleven Election API, so developers can have ready access to the current entirely unscientific polling numbers.

The company says its results in the past have been within "a couple of percentage points of the popular vote." As Americans know, it's the electoral college that determines the winner, so local results have a greater impact than the popular vote. For that reason, 7-Eleven lets developers get down to the neighborhood level for results.

7-Eleven's new service is similar to Walgreens first API in that it's a major brick-and-mortar chain dipping its toe into API waters. Just as Walgreens plans additional APIs, so does 7-Eleven, which points to its product catalog and other location data as likely next steps.

Of course, if what you're really after is polling numbers, you can get more scientific numbers from the Huffington Post Pollster API or peruse the 21 politics APIs.

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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[...] 2.) Coffee Cup Polling: 7-Election is 7-Eleven’s first (genius) forray into API marketing. Using coffee cups marked either Romney or Obama, 7-Eleven customers can vote for the presidential candidate of their choice and developers can visit the chain’s API for non-scientific polling results. Never has which coffee cup you pick been so, well, hot. [...]