Posted on 09-28-2011
One of the things I do here at API Evangelist is review APIs for their owners and provide suggestions for how they can improve the technology, ecosystem and better monetize their API.
When it comes to monetization many of the API owners seem to have a good grasp of how they are covering the base costs of operating their API, but are looking for ways to expand their revenue, and actually make their API profit engine.
Just like with web and mobile applications the first way people think about monetizing their API is using advertising. Though I don’t always agree with employing advertising as part of an API ecosystem, it makes sense that many owners are considering it. Advertising has been a primary revenue generator for web sites and applications, and has become a staple for mobile applications, using mobile advertising platforms like AdMob.
With this growing demand, I see a huge opportunity for someone to step up and provide a plug-and-play advertising network that API owners can deploy as part of their API ecosystems. An API advertising network could provide broad or specialized sponsored content that could be delivered within existing API content. An API advertising network would have different ways to filter and tailor content so advertising would not be intrusive and blend with the content already being delivered as part of an API, whether its delivering text, images, audio or video.
API advertising networks would have revenue sharing for developers built in. As an API owner I could choose to share advertising revenue with my developer ecosystem in any amount I wanted. Advertising would be pushed to all API calls made by developers, but they could be given an option to register for the revenue sharing program, and the system would track all ads delivered through a developers site or application, and pay out associated revenue.
Web advertising models like Google Adsense are great for website and application development, and mobile advertising platforms like AdMob are delivering for mobile developers, but there is a need to meet the advertising needs of API owners and their developer ecosystem. API advertising will need to deliver adaptive models that evolve with the new API economy, and help API owners further monetize their content and resources, while also providing much needed revenue sharing for their developer community.
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