Collecta, a real-time search engine that allowed users to query across a variety of sources, has changed directions and suspended its service. The Collecta API, which drove a significant amount of queries to the Collecta search engine, will be unavailable come February 11.
ReadWriteWeb has a good summary of Collecta and what could be coming next from the company. The home page at this point in time is just a continuous stream of images from Flickr. Perhaps it’s about real time Image Search? We don’t know.
Collecta had a large amount of its queries via the API, almost 60% of it, as ReadWriteWeb notes. We will not be surprised if the current business model that it is trying to shape has been influenced by its API usage patterns. As a user of its API, its back to the drawing board of either finding a similar API or temporarily suspending your functionality that made use of its API.
The last few months have seen several API vendors change their API or drop support for certain elements of their API like data format, etc. Simply stopping the API is the least favorable scenarios for any API consumer. This brings to the forefront the important point that there are signficant risks involved if your entire product offering is based on external APIs. API offerings with large developer ecosystems seem safer bets than smaller niche players. A backup plan in terms of a similar API offering–a Plan B–might definitely be needed in some cases. As a API consumer, what is your insurance policy in the case of the API retreating to the deadpool?