Mashery says one of the primary goals of the new API is to enable telephone and address look-up to be added to social networks. While that might seem a little bit frightening, it might be even more so if the API weren't being carefully managed to prevent abuse. That's what Mashery does. A well managed WhitePages API could become an indispensable feature in any number of legitimate services.
After launching in November 2006, Mashery has ramped up to service a quickly growing number of customers. Mashery's Oren Michels says that while APIs are hot right now, companies quickly grow overwhelmed when they see how much work can be required to manage them correctly. Michels says the sales pipe and cycle have improved dramatically in recent months and the company has grown to include 15 employees. "We closed six customers in one week two weeks ago," Michels told us, "we had never closed six customers in one month before." We covered Mashery's funding announcement in September.
In addition to WhitePages.com, other Mashery clients tend to fall into the categories of video, real estate, music and people search. The company believes that the keys to mashup success include making free access to APIs available immediately, including at 3am when developers are looking at them, and offering sample applications as soon as the API is available. While many data-centric businesses engage in a game of cat and mouse to prevent 3rd parties from scraping their data - Michels says that opening a solid API is a superior, win-win strategy. I buy that, I like Mashery a lot.
For a more extensive conversation about the pros, cons and best practices of APIs, see our previous post APIs and Developer Platforms: A Discussion of the Pros and Cons. See also the Serena Business Mashup Platform, a related company that's just hit our radar.