Marketers Discover APIs, Thanks to FourSquare

Adam DuVander
Jul. 19 2010, 12:01AM EDT

We're used to seeing start-ups built on top of APIs. We even wrote a series of posts to do it yourself. Fueled by the popularity of location-sharing site FourSquare, marketers are using the FourSquare API (our FourSquare API profile) to promote their products.

Embrace the API, says Colin Nagy for AdWeek:

As [FourSquare] continues to scale, going in the front door and putting money down for a formal partnership may not be the smartest move. Instead, it is advisable to go through the side door, which has been politely left open for the companies that have the chops and the creativity to do something cool.

The API is undoubtedly part of FourSquare's plan to scale. It's an impossible task to reach every bar and restaurant, not to mention any other brand that wants to team up. Extremely popular services like FourSquare are the ones with the most to gain from having an API, because it allows them to be hands off and still let mashups fuel the platform's growth.

Could FourSquare's popularity mean it's the next specialization for developers to consider? Both Facebook and the iPhone saw their platforms become lucrative for developers with focus. Nagy suggests FourSquare create a list of developers they've identified (we currently list 7 FourSquare developers). The company may not want to get in the business of certifying, but as its platform continues to grow, it may need to do something to connect the marketers with the coders who hold the key to check-ins, tips and offers.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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