The Swipp API allows developers to integrate Swipp's "Social Intelligence" into their sites and applications. Public information is not available on the API; interested parties are asked to email email@example.com. Once available the APIs will "make it possible for people to interact around any topic imaginable."
Having operated in stealth mode for 2 years, Swipp founders Don Thorson and Charlie Costantini decided to go public after Facebook's release of it's somewhat different competitor, the social graph. The idea is to let users rate any topic they can comment on or anything they can photograph. Others can chime in, providing an average rating by users. One cool difference: you can dislike something as well as like it, giving a rating from -5 to +5. According to Darrell Etherington at Techcrunch, the company has a three-pronged strategy of a consumer app just described, a business component tailored around specific events like the Superbowl, that will help businesses target specific segments. And that third prong, Etherington points out concerns APIs,
"Finally, Swipp will launch an API, which will be opening up for third-party access later this year, to allow outside developers to build products around Swipp’s interest graphing. In other words, Swipp wants to unlock the data that Facebook keeps guarded when it comes to consumer taste. The API may be something a lot of businesses want to get their hands on, but I’m sure they’ll wait and see how the first two components work out in terms of attracting user attention before jumping on board, because in the end, Swipp needs people willing to share sentiment to make the whole thing work."
Covering the launch in Wired, Ryan Tate gave detail on the business model,
"Swipp also claims it will be a significantly more open platform than Facebook, allowing users rights to download and easily re-use the information they put into the system. Swipp also says it will open up and API with fewer restrictions than those imposed on the Facebook API. The idea is to create an omnipresent social network and ratings system that can be emedded and re-used anywhere on the web, for example on e-commerce sites or communities operated by large companies. Swipp would then make its money selling specialized analytics to these companies."
Although a lot of functionality needs to be added (I couldn't find a search window when I opened my account), it's clear this could morph into something big. Swipp will provide a control panel so you can create widgets on the fly and claim terms of things you are swipping as your own. You'll be able to look at a breakdown of interest by georgraphy, time, gender ,and age.