To get full benefit of the network effect of the internet, most web 2.0 companies have been developing an API (application programming interfaces) enabling others to use data and link effectively them.
APIs let software applications talk to each other, push/pull information, etc. It's how developers build third-party clients, apps for Facebook, Google Maps (GOOG) mashups, and more.
Now even the giant mainstream retailers are making their data available. For example, Best Buy, the giant US electronics retailer (and partner of Carphone Warehouse), just announced its own A.P.I., called Remix. Web developers can now draw on any information from the Best Buy Web site – product specs, prices, photos, user reviews – and port it over to their own sites.
The protective walls around information are slowly crumbling. Although of course the use of the API is carefully managed and controlled. In Best Buy's case managment of the API is done by Mashery on their behalf.
Mashery, is working with old-line firms like Hoover’s, Reuters, and even the New York Times, to develop A.P.I.’s.
As many companies have found, doing a commercial deal with a business partner is the easy part of the relationship, getting systems to talk to one another, accounting for the traffic and seamlessly integrating presents a more difficult challenge and one that diverts scarce development resource. This is particularly the case when you need or want multiple partners - sometimes in the hundreds.
San Francisco-based Mashery, helps companies manage their APIs
using its fully-hosted, scalable on-demand infra-structure.
The company raised $2 million in new funding at the end of June to help build out its product, add more customer support, and hire more sales and marketing staff.
.406 Ventures led the round; Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff participated, as did previous investors First Round Capital and Formative Ventures. The company has raised $5.2 million to date.
TAG has been invested since July 2007.