Jigsaw, has announced additions to their RESTful JSON and XML API as well as a developer program designed to enable developers to query, share, and resell Jigsaw’s community-contributed database of company data and contact information. They came onto the API scene in June 2008 with their declaration of "Data Independence Day", which focused on providing free access to their database of company information (more details at our Jigsaw API Profile).
This round of API additions adds support for premium transactions such as requesting lists of contact information. Because Jigsaw requires payment for such contact requests, their API now includes the ability for an application developer to pay on their own and pass on the cost or to make requests using the end-user’s own Jigsaw account.
Disappointingly, for the latter behavior, Jigsaw chose to require applications to pass in a username and password as part of each request instead of using a delegated authorization protocol such as the widely used OAuth standard.
They signed up an impressive 17 companies as launch partners for the new Developer Program, with the well-known SugarCRM topping the list. Two of these have been added to our mashup directory, including ChatStat and VisiStat. ChatStat, shown below, is "live chat software that companies use to connect directly with their customers and prospects" and by embedding the Jigsaw API, ChatStat gives name, title, company, and contact details for site visitors at the beginning of every chat (more at our ChatStat mashup profile). And VisiStat is a realtime web analytics service that uses the Jigsaw API for LeadCaster, a suite of realtime tools that include the ability to identify companies that visit a website and get their business address, phone numbers, email addresses, and other details (details at our VisiStat profile).
Jigsaw’s juggernaut competitor, Hoover’s, has a very similar API. The Hoover’s API is SOAP-based, which Jigsaw doesn't hesitate to contrast themselves against. They quote Andy Gross, VP of Engineering for launch partner Basho, as saying "By embracing HTTP and standard data formats like JSON, Jigsaw's API enables much deeper and richer integrations at a fraction of the cost. Our client code was less than a fifth of the size of similar SOAP-based services."