An API (Application Programming Interface) allows two software applications or systems to communicate and interact with each other. It basically enables an app to access and use existing data and functionality of another app. However, beyond being an intermediary between two software apps or systems, an API should be made as a complete digital product. For instance, they should have detailed documentation with sample codes to make integration quick and easy for other developers. When APIs are developed as complete products, listing and selling them in an API marketplace is beneficial. This way, the intended audience can easily access all the required APIs in one place.
The type of marketplace an API should be listed on depends on whether it’s an internal or public API. Internal APIs are specifically developed to be used within an organization by different teams. Organizations worldwide utilize internal APIs to enable seamless data sharing between various teams and operate more efficiently. On the other hand, public APIs can be used by any organization and developer to retrieve data or access an app’s functionality. In other words, several organizations and developers can use a public API.
This article will discuss five types of API marketplaces and explore their features and characteristics, making it easier for you to decide which type of marketplace is right for your API/APIs.
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What Are the Different Types of API Marketplaces?
While API marketplaces are often confused with developer portals, these two are different platforms. An API marketplace comprises various components, and an API portal is one of the key components of the marketplace. An API portal is a platform provided by a single API provider where they expose their API to consumers. On the other hand, An API marketplace is a digital platform that consists of APIs developed by different parties. Depending on the type of marketplace, these different parties can be individual third-party developers or different teams, units, and departments of an organization.
Here are the five main types of API marketplaces:
This type of marketplace is specifically for a single organization. In other words, an internal marketplace consists of internal APIs developed for use within a specific organization. The API providers or publishers can be different business units, departments, and teams that own and manage these APIs. And the API consumers can also be different teams, internal units, or even external partners. All the published APIs in an internal marketplace are available on a shared developer portal.
The purpose of an internal API marketplace is to enable various teams and units within an organization to find and access required APIs in one common place and reuse them. This, in turn, facilitates collaboration and seamless data sharing across the organization. Additionally, this type of marketplace isn’t designed to generate any revenue. This is because all APIs are owned by a single organization and are meant to be used within the organization.
Partner API Marketplace
This type of marketplace is quite similar to an internal marketplace, with a slight difference. Like an internal marketplace, various internal teams and business units of a specific organization publish APIs on a partner marketplace. However, partner companies can also publish their APIs intended for use by the same consumers to generate more value. Thus, the consumers of a partner marketplace can be internal units and teams of the parent organization as well as partner organizations. This way, all the units can have access to all the required APIs in one place.
Closed Group API Marketplace
This type of marketplace is also designed for use by organizations, but it’s not limited to one organization. Rather, multiple organizations with a common purpose or goal can be a part of a closed group marketplace. For instance, organizations belonging to the same industry or striving to achieve a common objective can join the marketplace. However, not every organization can join it, and a governing authority usually decides which organizations can be a part of this closed group.
All organizations publish their APIs in a common developer portal in a closed group marketplace, but each company has its own security components and gateway.
In a public marketplace, any developer or organization can publish and sell their popular APIs depending on whether their APIs meet the standards of the marketplace. It works just like an e-Commerce marketplace, such as Amazon, where sellers worldwide list their products and consumers from across the globe can buy them. Similarly, API developers worldwide can list their products in a public marketplace, and anyone can use them.
An example of a reliable public API marketplace is the APILayer marketplace which consists of over 75 public APIs from various sellers.
Here are the main reasons why API sellers and consumers trust APILayer:
- With thousands of consumers trusting the marketplace, it provides API sellers access to a global audience.
- The marketplace accepts almost all types of APIs in any category, given they meet their quality and other standards. For instance, APIs should have detailed documentation with sample codes to ease integration.
- The marketplace currently consists of over 75 APIs in various categories, such as scraping, geo, finance, weather, etc.
- APILayer acts as a proxy for your APIs.
- APILayer lets sellers decide the pricing of their subscription plans.
- The marketplace manages customer acquisition, key management, memberships, rate limits, and payment collection processes for API sellers.
- APILayer only charges 15% of the revenue, whereas many major marketplaces charge 20%.
- All the APIs in the APILayer marketplace are scalable and highly secure. Moreover, they come with a free plan.
Try some of the most popular APIs from APILayer Marketplace:
In this marketplace, API sellers list their APIs on a platform, and these APIs or part of the APIs are then converted into products. Then these products are sold as value bundles. Hence, in an aggregator marketplace, a single product consists of components provided by multiple parties.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an API marketplace?
An API marketplace is a platform where various API providers can list their APIs on a common platform, and consumers can find and access all the required APIs from one platform.
What is the best marketplace for APIs?
APILayer is a leading public API marketplace trusted by a number of API sellers and thousands of consumers worldwide. The marketplace offers over 75 APIs in different categories, such as text processing, finance, currency, geo, weather, etc.
What are the benefits of an API marketplace?
These marketplaces offer several benefits, such as access to a global audience, monetization, and easy API management.