July 11, 2011

API Trend: Widgets for non-technical partners


APIs are all about distribution. But what if your distribution partners don't have the time or expertise to deal with JSON or XML?

Lately, we're seeing a growing number of Mashery customers solve this problem with widgets. In particular, they're building tools for configuring API-powered widgets that keep the technical stuff tucked under the hood. Widgets are nothing new, of course, but more and more API providers are using them to broaden their reach among non-technical publishers and affiliates.

Mashery customers with API-powered widgets include Ezetop, the mobile phone top-up service, which uses widgets to fuel its affiliate program, and FanFeedr, the provider of real-time, personalized sports feeds. So far, FanFeedr has rolled out widget tools that make it easy for partners to add FanFeedr content to email newsletters. FanFeedr’s Benn Gurton says he's planning to introduce more widgets "because we found that our target partners—mainstream media, teams, leagues—were interested in the content and functionality that our API offered, but they didn't always understand what an API was, or they didn't have the technical resources to use it directly."

Mashery customer Active.com recently launched Active.com Widgets, a set of API-powered widgets for partners. Active.com Business Development Manager Allison Reutter says, "Widgets provide our affiliates and publishing partners with easy access to dynamic local event and activity content. They're also a new revenue path for affiliates who have minimal resources for implementation." According to Reutter, widgets have been hit with partners, and Active.com plans to introduce more of them in the coming months.