How Much Revenue via APIs?

John Musser
Mar. 20 2006, 12:09AM EST

Following-up on discussions last week about mashup business models, I was curious to look at the other side and see if API providers had disclosed any details about revenue or volume numbers directly attributable to their API-based services. While the direct dollar figures are not always available, here are a few related numbers:

  • Salesforce.com: Reported on their blog on Jan 8th of this year that over 40% of all of Salesforce.com traffic comes from their API.
  • Amazon: Has 140,000 registered developers. In an Information Week article last October reported that third-party sellers generated 28% of Amazon's second-quarter unit sales, or $490 million. A percentage of those earnings are attributable to their web services APIs, but unfortunately they do not disclose what that percentage is. Also, if you want more on their services, check out these good slides (PDF) from a presentation Jeff Barr gave at Affiliates Summit 06.
  • eBay: Has somewhere over 25,000 developers with 1,900 certified applications. This little TechWeb story notes that during the fourth quarter in 2005, the eBay Platform handled more than 8 billion Web service requests, up from less than 1 billion for the entire year of 2002. The number of eBay Web Services transactions through APIs increased 84 percent annually.

If anyone has better or more recent numbers let me know.

John Musser

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[...] Mag der eine oder andere noch glauben, dass man durch das Bereitstellen einer API die Kontrolle &#252;ber die eigene Applikation oder Webseite aus der Hand gibt. Die Realit&#228;t zeigt, dass Anbieter, die eine solche Schnittstelle im Programm haben, deutlichen Mehrwert bieten und auch ihren Umsatz steigern k&#246;nnen. John Musser hat in ProgrammbleWeb einmal bei drei Internet-Gr&#246;&#223;en die entsprechenden Zahlen zusammengetragen. So generiert der CRM-Anbieter Salesforce bereits 40% seines Traffics durch die API. Bei Amazon wird ein Teil des Drittanbieter-Umsatzes von 490 Millionen Dollar durch die 140.000 registrierten Web-Developer generiert und EBay berichtet von 8 Milliarden WebService Zugriffen im vierten Quartal 2005. Diese Zahlen geben zwar keinen direkten Hinweis auf tats&#228;chliche Umsatzzahlen, zeigen jedoch, welch enormes Potential die externe Nutzung der eigenen Dienste bieten kann. [...]

[...] 1. Who&#8217;s making money on mashups? We&#8217;ve now seen cases where APIs can deliver directly to the bottom line given that over 50% of Salesforce.com transactions come via their API and more than 47% of eBay listings get posted through their API. We have also seen that APIs can create significant mindshare such as with Google Maps and Amazon S3. But there&#8217;s still plenty of unanswered questions with regards to business models for API providers, developers and intermediaries. [...]

[...] ProgrammableWeb pointed out an InformationWeek story that claimed 28% of Amazon&#8217;s sales in early 2005 were attributable to Amazon affiliates. And C|net claims Amazon now has 180,000 AWS developers (up from the 140,000 Amazon was claiming about a year ago). [...]

[...] API based sales - eBay allowed members to trade on their own sites rather than forcing them to eBay to trade. Revenues increased by 86% for ebay. 40% of Salesforce revenue comes from external sites (API), not their own webite. $490 million per quarter comes from Amazon API, not visiting their site. Not bad. (Thank goodness for Progammable web) [...]

[...] API based sales - eBay allowed members to trade on their own sites rather than forcing them to eBay to trade. Revenues increased by 86% for ebay. 40% of Salesforce revenue comes from external sites (API), not their own webite. $490 million per quarter comes from Amazon API, not visiting their site. Not bad. (Thank goodness for Progammable web) [...]