1. Craigslist, LinkedIn, Netflix, and others, don’t owe us anything.

    Articles have been cropping up that lambast Craiglist (1, 2), Netflix (1) , and LinkedIn (1) for policing their APIs and criticize them for stifling innovation.

    API access is not a charitable offering to the start-up community for these obviously for-profit companies. The goal of any company who offers an API to their data is to build a eco-system that promotes lock-in and added benefits for their service, not to help other companies profit and take advantage of their hard work.

    I agree with some of the criticisms that point out the inconsistency of these companies enforcement of their terms of service. Regardless, we should not be shocked that they will exercise tight control and act quick to stamp out anything that threatens their business.

    In the case of the recent controversy surrounding Pealk, a start-up that was using LinkedIn’s API to provide premium features to users at a discount, should we really be shocked or up in arms that LinkedIn shut them down?

    Start-ups should stop feeling entitled to other companies’ data in the name of innovation, and either:

    1. Man up and build a start-up where you collect all the necessary data you need yourself.
    2. Build services around APIs that help make the API offering company so much money and benefit that they don’t mind if you take a little coin for yourself in the process.

    Really, please just stop acting like spoiled brats. Nobody owes you anything.

    Comment on Hacker News

    tags  APIs   craigslist   linkedin   netflix   entitlement  
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