What are API Marketplaces & Why Participate in One?

API Marketplaces create an API-based ecosystem that consists of multiple providers and multiple consumer groups unlocking synergies and efficiencies

Meric Aydonat Meric Aydonat

APIs are the standard way of sharing data and capabilities in organizations as well as across organizations. They provide an interface and a contract to take advantage of other teams’ resources. As a result, they create synergies and make it possible to create value that is greater than what a single team can create with only its own resources. These synergies only happen if the API providers connect with application developers. API Marketplaces make that possible by cataloging large numbers of APIs from many providers to showcase them to many developers. This, as a result, creates a massive API-based ecosystem with the goal of creating many value-added applications.

In the first part of this blog series, I will describe why an organization would want to create or participate in an API Marketplace and the value that practice delivers. In the second part, I will investigate in detail the many requirements of each participant.

API Marketplace definition

API Marketplaces were born out of the idea that the more an API is shared, the more valuable it becomes. Just like physical marketplaces, API Marketplaces create a meeting point for API providers to publish and advertise their products, and API consumers to browse and use those products. What differentiates an API Marketplace from an API Catalogue is that it is a two-sided marketplace: it involves multiple providers publishing their APIs on one side, and multiple consumer groups browsing and subscribing to these APIs. These multiple providers may be different business units in the same organization, partner organizations, or third-party organizations that have no formal relationship with the marketplace owner. And multiple consumers may again be developers from different business units, different organizations, or individual developers.

The goal of these multiple stakeholders is to create value-added applications by easily finding and using the right APIs. The marketplace provides the medium to advertise APIs and reach a wide audience. These different APIs from different providers are presented with all the relevant information such as description, supplementary documents, and code samples to make it easy for the consumers to search, try, and use the right API for their application.

Benefits of an API Marketplace

Be it a public marketplace that is open to any provider to publish and any consumer to sign up, or a private marketplace that has greater control over who can participate, creating this API-based ecosystem has great benefits for all its participants.

The organization that builds and operates the marketplace creates an ecosystem that brings together its different stakeholders to deliver greater innovation and efficiencies than any two connected parties can deliver. Their providers and consumers meet virtually to ideate and create with all the available resources in a standard form in a common place.

The providers participating in the marketplace reach a large developer base that is interested in using their APIs. They can grow their audience to a size beyond what they can individually achieve and realize the full potential of their data and products.

Finally, the consumers gain access to many APIs from many providers, see their full details, compare them, and create applications using multiple APIs. In addition, it provides access for other application developers to collaborate and share experiences.

The result is an ecosystem that is greater than its parts.

For an API Marketplace to be successful, it should consider and deliver on the requirements of each persona. It needs to answer many questions such as what the individual goals of these personas are, what are their growth strategies, what KPIs they evaluate…and more. In the second part of this series, I will delve deeper into these requirements and describe how you can deliver them using the webMethods Developer Portal.