A lot can be learned from the pioneers of the API space. Companies like Amazon and Twilio have been used as a model by many providers, and are something I reference often across my research and storytelling. These providers have been playing the API game for a while, so they have a wealth of experience to bring to the table, but they also are working with well defined, and highly valuable API driven resources which we can learn from.
I'm neck deep in evaluating the pricing of modern APIs, and Amazon and Twilio both provide a wealth of things to consider when it comes to API monetization. One of the common patterns that has emerged for me, is the presence of pricing APIs:
- AWS Price List API - In order to meet the needs of these customers and to foster the development of even more tools that focus on cost management, budgeting, and the like, we are launching the AWS Price List API.
- Twilio Pricing API - The Pricing REST resource provides a simple API to pull real time, account-specific pricing for Twilio's messaging, voice and phone number products.
As Amazon says on their page, "Many AWS customers and partners have been asking for a programmatic way to access prices for AWS services. Current customers and partners would like to make sure that their budgeting, forecasting, and analytics tools are able to analyze AWS prices without having to resort to scraping our web site." These types of API resources provide the rest of us with a glimpse at what the future possibly holds for our own APIs.
The world of cloud computing, voice, and messaging APIs are significantly more mature than other areas being served by APIs, but how the leading API providers are monetizing their APIs, and develop tooling for their consumers, gives us elements we should all be considering for our own road maps. I hope you are ready for a time, where the resources you are serving up via your API, are as well defined, and as competitive as cloud computing resources is right now.
It is easy to think about our APIs within the silo of our community, but when you begin to think about API consumers who will be using not just 2-3 APIs, but 20-30, or even 200-300 APIs, the importance of there being a pricing API to assist with cost management becomes very clear. For API providers, all aspects of our developer facing solutions should be API driven, allowing API consumers to automate their applications, keys, usage, and other vital aspects of API integration and consumption.