When API’s were heralding the start of “Web2.0” the general idea was to access various avenues of data and mash them up into something tangible. So the weather from weather.com and the Disney characters from another feed, heck knows what it meant but it looked funky so that was fine.
API access now really boils down to one thing, exposing your platform to developers, especially mobile development, so your service is the lone provider of the data, interaction and monitoring of the app developers product. The risk is putting all your eggs in one basket as folk are finding out and paying the price for.
So this is hopefully my last post on this for some time but I feel I had to spell it out again?????? It all boils down to be free, be restrictive then lockdown.
Encourage developers to create apps, thus increasing your user base.
Once the sweet spot is reached start to restrict various aspects of your API. If the app in question replicates your core functionality then kill it. (You do measure your users don’t you? Measure everything). The users might whine about it “not being social” more than the case of “we’re not making profit”.
Even better if your growth has given you 70% market share of the sector you are operating in. You have control of the data, the users and even the way they react to changes in your system. What you say goes.