Spinvox's Paid API Gains Developer Traction

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.

Be sure to read the next Financial article: Intuit Backs a New Open Source Community