2009/05/13

APIs in Japanese web industry

Japanese web industry is said to be like Galápagos island - closed inside the isolated market and develops in a unique way. There are various reasons for this- for example the language barrier, cultural aspect, etc.

However, there were many companies trying to open up (whether or not those facts are known outside of Japan...), and events such as "Mashup Award[ja]" had helped to promote various companies' APIs to the developers, and let them create services and websites using those APIs. There were 4 rounds of Mashup Award contests in the past, you can see the full list of APIs provided for the event here[ja]. For the contest that was held last year, 132 APIs from 44 companies were available to use- including various search APIs, map APIs, etc. You can see the winners of the last contest here[ja].



Recently, there were 2 major players joining this "opening" tendency.


1)mixi


mixi[ja] is the largest social network service in Japan with 16million users, was invitation only-service for a long time, and was basically a closed community, a closed service without any APIs.

Mixi created "mixi Platform" which consists of Mixi Appli, Mixi Connect (OAuth) and Mixi OpenID. 

**Mixi Platform**

a)Mixi Appli 

-Allows the developers to develop applications on mixi, based on Open Social.
-Turned to open beta (from closed beta) last month, and is planed to launch officially in August.
-There are5 APIs:
  1. Person & Friends API (social graph, profile info)
  2. Community API (community info)
  3. Activities API (Mymixi (friend) info)
  4. Persistence API (data persistency)
  5. gadgets. io API (collaboration with other Web services)
b)Mixi Connect 

-Allows services, applications and devices other than mixi to access data of mixi via API using OAuth.

c)Mixi OpenID 

-Allows 3rd party websites to use user data of mixi for login authentication.


Using Mixi Appli, developers will be able to make revenue through

1)Ad revenue

-0.01yen/PV from application via mixi's ad program. Developers can include individual ads in the application page if they don't want to join mixi's ad program.

2)charge users via mixi using mixi's charging system

-80% of the revenue will be distributed to the developers, mixi will take 20% commission.
-mixi Payment API will be available to use, developers can link to sites outside mixi to use their own charging system as well.

3)mixi fund

-mixi will invest on developers who will develop mixi appli. They will either loan money or buy the mixi appli from the developers, and Community Factory[ja] received the first investment.


2) Yahoo! Auction


Yahoo! Auction[ja] is the largest online auction site in Japan. SDK and Sample code can be downloaded here[ja]. They have 9 APIs public so far:

  1. Display product list
  2. Auction search
  3. Display category information
  4. Display list of products in the bid
  5. Display detail information of the product
  6. Display bidding history
  7. Display all of the bidding histories
  8. Display Q&A contents
  9. Display evaluation
On their blog, they wrote "For example, by using 1, 3 and 5, you can make a Yahoo!Auction clone service. Please give it a try!" - amazing.

Yahoo! Japan has already launched various other APIs including search API[ja] (web search, image search, video search and related word search), map API[ja](javascript, flash, and local search), various text analysis APIs[ja], shopping APIs[ja], news API[ja], QA site API [ja], category API[ja], certification API[ja], and music API[ja].

Yes we still have the language barriers, but we're changing gradually :)
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