Change.org Petitions API: Is the Pen Mightier Than the Ballot?

Greg Bates
Nov. 07 2012, 01:30PM EST

Think signing petitions is useless? There's probably an app for that. But Change.org proves the cynics wrong--every day. And now there's a Change.org API to rattle the powerful even further. The API is in beta, is free, and uses REST with JSON returned. The API covers a multitude of requests from creating petitions to checking signatures, from looking at the case for a petition to updating them.

The homepage is uplifting. A sampling of active petitions adorns the site, geared to pull at the heart, or make your blood boil. One from a parent asks to have their deceased son's student loan forgiven. Another asked for health care benefits for FEMA first responders to hurricane Sandy.

But what's really exciting is the banner near the top, a portion of which is reproduced below. These photos are about petitions that have won the change they sought. Roll your mouse over a photo and the victory details are revealed. Under the photo of Hilary Clinton, for example, these words pop up:

Saudi women win Clinton support for right to drive. Won with 22,986 supporters.

Change.org is exploding, Nicholas Kristof outlines in the New York Times,

Founded in 2007, it is a B Corporation — a hybrid of a for-profit company and a charity, seeking to make profits for social good — and began to soar a year ago. It is now growing by one million members a month.

“We’re growing more each month than the total we had in the first four years,” said Ben Rattray, 31, the founder. He said that 10,000 petitions are started each month on the site, and that each success leads to countless more copycat campaigns.

Corroborating this, the Change.org website notes it has over 112 million signatures from 196 countries.

Don't just vote. Sign something! Or better yet, create a petition and be the change.

Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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