Thinking About The Better Business Bureau API In Context Of The Overall API Economy

I was happy to stumble across the Better Business Bureau API the other day. I was working on a piece about "the API economy", and looking for real world examples of how APIs could actually contribute positively (or negatively) to the actual economy, and found the useful API. 

The Better Business Bureau provides five API endpoints for consumers:

  • Organization Search - This endpoint will allow you to search for Organizations that are known to the BBB.  Organizations may include businesses or charities.
  • Organization Collections - BBB Partners will need to be able to identify collections of Organizations that they care about and be able to manage those collections and receive Organization info and updates on them as needed.
  • Bulk Retrieval - This section defines the message specification that will be sent back to the API partners who request a bulk data transfer.  
  • Push Notifications - BBB Partners have the need to be notified when BBB data updates occur for the records or a collection of records they are currently subscribed to.
  • BBB Investigation/Application for Accreditation - This endpoint allows submission of organizations for BBB investigation and application for BBB accreditation.

They provide a pretty valuable service, which is significantly amplified when there is an API present. Being able to find out which companies are accredited or have complaints against them in real time has endless potential for impacting real world decisions that may influence the economy one way or the other. Being able to automate this process for a digital age, convinced me that this should be in the list of APIs that reflect my thoughts on the wider API economy.

I will be including the Better Business Bureau API in my overall API ranking research, which is something I've explored in the past, but will be spending some more time thinking in the context of the API economy. I will also profile the BBB API, to contribute to the design patterns I will be considering when it comes to designing business and API ranking, investigation, and accreditation resources.