Lessons from top 100 API companies
We have split API companies between data, service or processing APIs.
For a Processing API, using a subscription model is very uncommon. Indeed, no Processing company follows a subscription business model.
Subscription business models are mostly used by Service APIs.
All sorts of business models are applied with Data APIs, the differentiator is the value metric considered.
Number of API calls is not the metric used for monetization. Top API companies go for a PAYG business model based on a custom metric. Those mature API companies never use API calls as value metric but really capture the value through a custom metric. This can be like the number of monthly active users of the service, number of signatures in case of digital signature service and so on.
Subscription based businesses charging $1.000/mo and above don’t display their prices publicly. Indeed, when companies do not publish their pricing, they sell to enterprise at an entry price higher than 1000€/month.
Here is the cheat-list of features that are a must have:
Start without credit card and self registration
Customer use cases
Key features that make a difference and help your API stand out from the crowd:
API use case approach
SEO optimised portal
Alerts provided in case of misuse or reaching quota