by Christophe Primault
Published on 28 February 2011
We wrote a few months ago about the increasing importance of APIs for SaaS vendors and buyers.
As a web-app developer, if you still have a doubt about the need of an API strategy, think about these two hard facts:
Although there is no formal ranking system to measure the popularity of an API the following metrics should be considered :# call, # mashups, # developers, # apps using the API
Combining two different sources from the ProgrammableWeb website and a presentation from John Musser we have established a short list of 10 important APIs (some numbers can be a bit outdated and likely to be even higher):
1) Google Maps - mapping: 5 billion calls /day and 2184 mashups
2) Facebook - social networking: 5 billion calls /day and 237 mashups
3) Flickr- photos sharing : 567 mashups
4) Twitter - microblogging : 3 billion calls /day , 75% of all traffic and 547 mashups
5) Netflix - video : about 1 billion calls/day
6) eBay - auction : about half billion calls/ day and 206 mashups
7) Amazon- online storage : over 100 billion objects stored in S3
8) Salesforce.com - CRM : over 50% of all their transactions
9) Twilio - telephony: 144 mashups
10) Box.net - online storage: 70 mashups
APIs are the glue of SaaS . They are core to the strategy of successful B2B SaaS companies such as Salesforce.com, ExactTarget, Box.net or Docusign. Check these vendors that have mentioned the availability of an Open API in their in GetApp.com listing.
There is no doubt that the key for an API to become popular is its underlying service. But assuming the solution you offer rocks, it won't be a trivial exercise to understand how to launch, manage and grow your API businesses. This is is why more and more developers rely on third party solutions such as 3Scale CONNECT to manage entirely their API infrastructure.
The most popular APIs are found in the consumer space and it is difficult to find API usage data for B2B SaaS vendors.
It would be nice to hear 1) what makes your API popular 2) numbers on your API calls and mashups? Please use the comment section below if you are willing to share this information.