eBay Frees Its API

John Musser
Nov. 15 2005, 12:05AM EST

eBay announced yesterday that they are making the use of their APIs free. This removes their previously existing fees ranging from $1.25 to $2.90 per 1,000 items listed and a $500 annual fee.

They have a well established and sizable developer's program with over 21,000 developers who've created over 1,600 applications on on eBay's auction network. And we're not talking maps mashups here -- as the NY Times noted yesterday, 22 percent of eBay listings are placed there by third-party programs using the the eBay APIs. Developers aren't just small players either and include SAP, Verizon and EarthLink. They support some 2.5 billion API calls per month. Not small potatoes.

In addition, eBay has also just kicked-off the eBay Developer Challenge 2006 where you could win $5,000 (individual) or as a team create an open source application and win a set of matching Xbox 360 game consoles. They lead by pointing out that in 1995 the basic idea of what became eBay was codding in a weekend and ask "So, what can you do in a weekend?"

For more coverage on this see: Information Week, Computerworld, and Chris Law has a good podcast interview with the director of the eBay Developers Program, Greg Isaacs.

John Musser



[...] 40,000 independent developers from 100 countries in their network and it doubled in size between mid-2005 and mid-2006. During that period sellers using third party tools like Infopia increased by 50%. (Note that during that period eBay dropped API access fees see our coverage here). The story notes that 25% of eBay listings are created by third party tools using their API. And some misc eBay stats: nearly $50 billion worth of goods sold last year and 1.3 million people make their living on eBay. [...]