How Edmunds API Program Thrives On Its Marketplace and Developer Earnings

This case study is the second part of our series on 8 Real World API Strategies and The Keys To Their Success. In part 1, we looked at how Contentful has driven engagement and developer adoption through the use of SDKs, both official and community contributed.

This case study looks at the strategies employed by Edmunds that has helped the company generate month-on-month growth in developer engagement and in the creation of new products, services and processes that rely on Edmunds’ API.

Edmunds is an automotive research and pricing website that offers APIs for developers to access automotive content from Edmunds, to create pricing tools, and to integrate widgets that drive customers to Edmunds’ resellers in return for an affiliate commission. Edmunds provides its APIs for free and pays developers when they route a new lead to the Edmunds website or to resellers.

Edmunds has been able to maintain a growth rate of about 45% throughout 2015. Edmunds employs a variety of strategies aimed at helping API developers to build viable business models on the use of Edmunds’ APIs. Outreach activities include hosting of an accelerator program to support new businesses being built on the APIs. Via a self-service accredited developer program, developers are assessed on their capacity to use the Edmunds APIs; those who demonstrate proficiency are cross-promoted through a marketplace platform.

This case study demonstrates the power of a strategic, holistic approach to developer relations. Edmunds’ focus has been on encouraging third parties to be viable businesses--a strategy that matches the revenue-share business model.

How Edmunds further leverages its accredited developer marketplace, which provides a platform to introduce API developers to potential business customers, will be the key strategy to watch throughout the rest of 2015 and into next year.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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