If you know how to develop mashups then you may be in line to win some very big prizes. To get a sense of just how much money and how many prizes, take a look at the ProgrammableWeb Contest Guide and you'll find that there have been more than 45 mashup contests thus far. Prizes include Xbox 360 systems, $10,000 Alien ware computer systems, $50,000 in cash, and more. The contest prizes are getting bigger and more spectacular all the time. For example, in September 2007, Adobe awarded a $100,000 "trip of a lifetime" to the winner of the AIR Developer Derby. In December, startup Ooyala won the $100,000 first prize in Amazon.com's AWS Startup Challenge (see our earlier post about the contest).
In March the contest with the biggest prize to date gets underway. The winner of Salesforce.com's Force.com Million Dollar Challenge will receive a $1,000,000 investment in their start-up company and a cubicle at the Salesforce.com incubator for one year. The most recent contest announcement was just last week when Zynga announced a competition for game developers using their platform.
So, what types of mashup have people developed to win these contests? With more than 45 contests already having completed, the winning entries have spanned a broad spectrum, as you'd expect. Quite a few prize-winning mashups provide services that are of everyday value to people. For example, the Home Locator mashup, winner of the Adobe Flex Developer Derby, lets you search real estate listings with photos and maps (mashup profile).
Need a doctor after hours? As we reported last year, the After Hours Doctor's Office mashup, winner of the 2007 Etel Mashup Contest, transcribes office voice mails left by patients for doctors into text and then sends them via SMS to the doctor. It's great demonstration on how to get in contact with your doctor when you know she or he is not in the office.
Meanwhile, if you're wondering about campaign finance and influence in your state, take a look at the winner of the Sunlight Foundation's Mashup Congress Contest. The Unfluence mashup will show you your state's political contribution data (our profile).
So, what stories are others identifying as being very interesting and relevant? What better source for this information is there than Digg? To our benefit, Digg offers the Digg API to developers, and many people have taken advantage of this to develop some very useful mashups. The Digg Expose mashup takes Snap.com images from Digg and displays them in a configurable view. You can drag the images around, sort them, or change the category. The Digg Charts mashup (profile), another Digg API Contest finalist entry, is a Flex application that generates charts comparing popular stories. Additionally, a graph is generated showing a selected story's popularity over time. See all finalists in the Digg API Contest in our earlier coverage.
And the Ooyala application that won Amazon.com's AWS Startup Challenge is really a platform and not a simple mashup. Ooyala provides capability for improving delivery, monetization and analytics of online video, utilizing Amazon web services.
Mashup and API contests are clearly a growing venue for developers and API providers. Use the ProgrammableWeb Mashup Contests Guide and the Contests blog page to keep posted on ongoing and upcoming contests. If you know of a contest that isn't yet listed, click the "add it" link on that page to share the information with the PW community.