Spinvox's Paid API Gains Developer Traction

Adam DuVander
Jul. 21 2009, 12:05AM EDT

Are we finally ready to embrace paying for APIs? It seems so, as long as the value is there for developers.

Spinvox announced they've signed up 600 developers in five months. The API (our Spinvox API profile) brings the power of voice transcription to an application.

Spinvox explained

And developers are apparently willing to pay for that power. Spinvox charges 35 cents to create text from a half-minute message.

Using a computer to convert speech to text has been long promised, but poorly executed over the years. Spinvox uses a combination of methods, including sometimes falling back on humans to do the work.

There is a real cost to the company to provide the service, but there's also an undeniable value to its output. Yet there are worries that Spinvox has grown too fast after a deal to serve Telefonica's 125 million customers in Latin America. The company may be paying staff with stock, which leaves questions for developers building a business on top of Spinvox.

This is all fuel to an argument for Spinvox charging for its service. If enough developers pay--and they seem to be open to it--the service should remain reliable. The same cannot always be said for those APIs without a clear revenue stream, as we've seen recently with Google's Mashup Editor and Microsoft's PopFly mashup tool.

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.

Comments

Comments(2)

Wow! Very cool. Imagine that, a service provider making something so compelling that people are willing to pay for it. Not surprised to hear that a technology adding enough value to command payment has overhead high enough to present challenges. Sounds like a real business.

[...] More likely might be using another service to auto-caption the video. For example, you might link Mechanical Turk tasks to your video paying pennies to actual humans to transcribe your video (Mechanical Turk API profile). Or, perhaps you’d export the audio and use SpinVox (SpinVox API profile), whose popular paid API we covered recently. [...]