The Rise of .io Domain Names for APIs

Adam DuVander
Aug. 28 2013, 12:00PM EDT

Talk to developers about their cache of great domain names and these days you're likely to find a few Dot IOs in the mix. The ProgrammableWeb directory tracks the growth of this TLD, where the .io stands for Indian Ocean, not input/output. No matter, APIs and other developer-oriented services have made the domain extension popular, with nearly 100 APIs in the directory hosted on .io domains.

Drop.io: an Early Trend-Setter

Drop.ioThe first added to the directory was way back in 2008 when the Drop.io API launched. The simple file sharing service is no longer around, gobbled up by Facebook in a rumored acqui-hire. As the social network is wont to do, Drop.io succumbed to immediate Facebook euthanasia.

At the time of the acquisition, there was only one other .io API in the directory. The Put.io API is also the oldest surviving .io API. It was added to the directory in the middle of 2010, nearly two years after Drop.io's launch.

2012: The Year of the Dot IO

As you can see from the chart above, 2012 was the year when .io domains took a big leap. Certainly 2013, already beyond 2012, will be a big year itself, considering it's only two-thirds over.

Year Number of .io APIs
2008 1
2009 0
2010 3
2011 13
2012 32
2013 44

There have been 44 .io APIs already this year, compared to 32 in 2012. However, there were only 13 in 2011.

10 Oldest Surviving .io APIs

While the trend-setter Drop.io was shut off by Facebook, many of the oldest .io APIs are still around.

Some of the earliest examples were file sharing, taking the I/O in .io seriously. Of course, now it's fair game to be any kind of service. Though some are consumer-oriented, most stick strictly in developer waters. Some of the recent APIs, such as one for keeping count and another for determining gender.

Based on some of the domain names I see coming out, either good names are still to be had or a lot of you are sitting on gold mines. Which is it? Share your favorite .io name (owned or otherwise) in the comments.

Adam DuVander is Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and Contributing Editor of ProgrammableWeb. Previously he edited this site and wrote for Wired. You can follow him on Twitter.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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