David Engel and Brian Rucker found themselves wondering about mobile versions of websites. The system they built to detect whether mobile sites are displayed for five mobile operating systems is now available as the Company Data Trees Mobile Website Detection API and is the first "branch" of their new venture, Company Data Trees. When Engel and Rucker ran the top 200 sites (according to Alexa), they found about half have no mobile site, including LinkedIn and PayPal.
Android and iOS are the most likely platforms to be supported with mobile versions. Blackberry comes in third, with less than half of the most popular sites supporting it. The company is making the full spreadsheet available as an example of the data available with its API.
"We're seeing big traction with ad networks," Engel said. Mobile ads are still a growing field and a place where companies can focus on getting new business. If a company with ads on its main site has a mobile site, it needs ads there, as well. Company Data Trees counts the display ad company Burst Media among its clients.
By making the mobile site check available as an API, Company Data Trees lets companies build the information into their processes. Currently it costs 50 cents per hit, with volume pricing for those who plan to use the service extensively. Another "branch," the company's term for one of its APIs, is the Company Data Trees Parked Domain API. For 15 cents per hit, this service identifies websites that have no real content.
The greater plan for Company Data Trees is to become a "marketplace for companies," according to Engel. "We'll have already run the entire Internet through our braches," Engel said. Developers will then be able to query the branches to retrieve, for example, any company with a certain amount of revenue that has mobile versions of its websites and at least one popular iPhone app.
"Our platform is designed to be leveraged by developers," Engel said. "There's this whole ecosystem of apps that come out. It's cheap to build apps. But having data is what is going to make these apps different. They need more input and that's what our APIs will do."