Just Be Straight Up About Your API Pricing

I know. I’m kind of a broken record this week, but I’m trying to quantify the business model, and monetization strategies of APIs across various industries, and understanding what companies are charging for their services just makes me crazy sometimes. I don’t know what people are thinking when they craft their approach to explaining what an API will cost to access.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about over at Stocklytics. When you land on Stocklytics home page, this is what you see:

After spending some time looking for anything else about pricing, I signed up for the service, and after I logged in to my account I found this page, which then takes me directly to a Paypal page:

Do companies even think about what this does to the on-boarding process? I’m not evening focusing on the errors in my brand new developer account that I had to contend with before I discovered the add credits page. At this point, why would use this service? Even if the data is amazing? You just bullshitted me into signing up for your service. There was never a mention of cost until I signed up.

This is one of the things I love about the API space--the dead simple lessons in the value of honesty and transparency. I really don’t care how you structure the pricing for API, I’ll let developers vote with their usage of your API decide that. What I do care about is how you communicate your pricing. There really isn’t any reason to hide your pricing—just be straight up about it, and I bet you’ll do a lot more business as a result.