After our recent look at the growth of social APIs, we thought we'd look back at the history of the category. We added the Plazes API in September, 2005. In terms of the web, this is recent history. In terms of APIs, we might as well be looking at scrolls. In fact, less than half of the first 10 social APIs are still alive today. Below you'll find a list of those trailblazing 10, along with a status for each of them.
- Plazes API (September, 2005). Acquired by Nokia, usurped by the competing Foursquare API and service. But Plazes is still active.
- NewsGator (September, 2005). Re-focused on enterprise RSS, which meant abandoning its API-driven consumer tools.
- Ning API (October, 2005). The private social network was acquired by Glam Media.
- HotOrNot API (October, 2005). The rating and dating website is still around, but its API is not.
- Delicious API (October, 2005). The social bookmarking service has changed hands a few times, but it's still going strong.
- PartySync API (December, 2005). The messaging service and its API have been gone since at least 2008.
- Rrove API (February, 2006). The API for this social location bookmarking service went away in December, 2007. The service itself is now gone, as well.
- Tagtooga API (April, 2006). Perhaps too much of a Delicious me-too, its home page now says "hello world" (and nothing else).
- Facebook API (August, 2006). It's doing okay for itself.
- Haystack Networking API (October, 2006). This business social network had an API over a year before the LinkedIn API. One of them is now a publicly-traded company.
Both added in December 2006 and still alive:
- Userplane API. Acquired by AOL before its API was even released
- Twitter API. The microblogging social network has more mashups than any API except Google Maps.
That Social APIs has been such a rapidly growing segment may be why so many of its services have been discontinued. In an effort to be first to market with technologies that aren't always ready for customers, we see more social platforms disappear than most other categories. However, it should be noted that of those that remain from 2005 and 2006, most have grown to be mature companies with strong developer programs.