Calling itself the "first ever APIs marketplace" and the "Etsy of Cloud Services," Mashape launches today with a service that's meant to make it easier for developers to gain access to cloud services and API components for their projects. Mashape also simplifies the ability to generate a simple ready-to-use API and add it to a marketplace, giving developers an opportunity for better distribution of their API - and to earn a little cash.

APIs are increasingly becoming an important way to distribute information and to access services, and APIs are quickly becoming a crucial part of companies' online products. In other words, it's no longer enough to simply have a website or an app; you need an API.

Mashape hopes to take advantage of this trend with its new marketplace. "The problem is that there isn't a unified place where developers can distribute or consume services - everything is fragmented," says Augusto Marietti, Mashape's CEO. "Mashape wants to fill this gap by providing a frictionless online storefront for developers who want to consume or generate and distribute a RESTful JSON-based API for any kind of service."

Mashape plans to offer several ways for developers to make money with their APIs - via a queries limit, a one-time fee, or a subscription model.

Service providers and individual developers can make an API available and third party developers can consume any component listed on Mashape - all through a single interface. "We think there's a clear need for this. We already have over 1,000 developers signed up for the alpha," said Marietti.

ReadWriteWeb readers can use the code "READWRITEWEB" to get access to the alpha version of service.