How Much Revenue via APIs?

John Musser, March 20th, 2006

MoneyFollowing-up on discussions last week about mashup business models, I was curious to look at the other side and see if API providers had disclosed any details about revenue or volume numbers directly attributable to their API-based services. While the direct dollar figures are not always available, here are a few related numbers:

  • Salesforce.com: Reported on their blog on Jan 8th of this year that over 40% of all of Salesforce.com traffic comes from their API.
  • Amazon: Has 140,000 registered developers. In an Information Week article last October reported that third-party sellers generated 28% of Amazon’s second-quarter unit sales, or $490 million. A percentage of those earnings are attributable to their web services APIs, but unfortunately they do not disclose what that percentage is. Also, if you want more on their services, check out these good slides (PDF) from a presentation Jeff Barr gave at Affiliates Summit 06.
  • eBay: Has somewhere over 25,000 developers with 1,900 certified applications. This little TechWeb story notes that during the fourth quarter in 2005, the eBay Platform handled more than 8 billion Web service requests, up from less than 1 billion for the entire year of 2002. The number of eBay Web Services transactions through APIs increased 84 percent annually.

If anyone has better or more recent numbers let me know.

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11 Responses to “How Much Revenue via APIs?”

March 20th, 2006
at 1:32 am
Comment by: Saul Weiner

I think the real question revolves around whether they have a business model that works first.

March 20th, 2006
at 1:57 am
Comment by: John Musser

A different question indeed, although of course I was just curious about this specific aspect/subset of the business…

March 20th, 2006
at 5:47 am
Comment by: web business 2.0 - Umsatzsteigerung durch API-Integration

[...] Mag der eine oder andere noch glauben, dass man durch das Bereitstellen einer API die Kontrolle über die eigene Applikation oder Webseite aus der Hand gibt. Die Realität zeigt, dass Anbieter, die eine solche Schnittstelle im Programm haben, deutlichen Mehrwert bieten und auch ihren Umsatz steigern können. John Musser hat in ProgrammbleWeb einmal bei drei Internet-Größen die entsprechenden Zahlen zusammengetragen. So generiert der CRM-Anbieter Salesforce bereits 40% seines Traffics durch die API. Bei Amazon wird ein Teil des Drittanbieter-Umsatzes von 490 Millionen Dollar durch die 140.000 registrierten Web-Developer generiert und EBay berichtet von 8 Milliarden WebService Zugriffen im vierten Quartal 2005. Diese Zahlen geben zwar keinen direkten Hinweis auf tatsächliche Umsatzzahlen, zeigen jedoch, welch enormes Potential die externe Nutzung der eigenen Dienste bieten kann. [...]

January 1st, 2007
at 8:32 pm
Comment by: ProgrammableWeb.com » Blog Archive » Top 5 Mashup Questions for 2007

[...] 1. Who’s making money on mashups? We’ve now seen cases where APIs can deliver directly to the bottom line given that over 50% of Salesforce.com transactions come via their API and more than 47% of eBay listings get posted through their API. We have also seen that APIs can create significant mindshare such as with Google Maps and Amazon S3. But there’s still plenty of unanswered questions with regards to business models for API providers, developers and intermediaries. [...]

January 4th, 2007
at 3:23 pm
Comment by: rascunho » Seção de dados do blog » links for 2007-01-04

[...] ProgrammableWeb.com » Blog Archive » How Much Revenue via APIs? Has somewhere over 25,000 developers with 1,900 certified applications. (tags: blog.programmableweb.com 2007 webservices mashup) [...]

March 29th, 2007
at 1:24 pm
Comment by: APIs Are Big Business « MaisonBisson.com

[...] ProgrammableWeb pointed out an InformationWeek story that claimed 28% of Amazon’s sales in early 2005 were attributable to Amazon affiliates. And C|net claims Amazon now has 180,000 AWS developers (up from the 140,000 Amazon was claiming about a year ago). [...]

July 10th, 2007
at 12:30 am
Comment by: designmartini » links for 2007-07-10

[...] ProgrammableWeb.com » Blog Archive » How Much Revenue via APIs? (tags: amazon api) [...]

September 28th, 2008
at 9:23 pm
Comment by: Laurel Papworth » Blog Archive » Social Networks: Monetizing Social Media

[...] API based sales – eBay allowed members to trade on their own sites rather than forcing them to eBay to trade. Revenues increased by 86% for ebay. 40% of Salesforce revenue comes from external sites (API), not their own webite. $490 million per quarter comes from Amazon API, not visiting their site. Not bad. (Thank goodness for Progammable web) [...]

December 11th, 2008
at 9:11 am
Comment by: Monetizing Social Media…Beyond the Ad Model

[...] API based sales [...]

January 6th, 2009
at 12:17 am
Comment by: Laurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy · Social Media Monetization and Revenue

[...] API based sales – eBay allowed members to trade on their own sites rather than forcing them to eBay to trade. Revenues increased by 86% for ebay. 40% of Salesforce revenue comes from external sites (API), not their own webite. $490 million per quarter comes from Amazon API, not visiting their site. Not bad. (Thank goodness for Progammable web) [...]

December 15th, 2011
at 6:57 am
Comment by: Bauzinsen aktuell

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers Bauzinsen aktuell

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John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.