I am extremely happy that today eBay made all of our API calls completely free of charge. You can get 10,000 API calls a month just by signing up, and when you pass a relatively painless evaluation, we’ll increase that limit to 1.5 million calls a day. Now that’s a call limit you can be proud of.
For a long time, eBay’s offered up our API for both commercial and non-commercial usage, but we’ve always hampered ourselves by charging for access. The fees were low enough for commercial companies to write applications, but in a world where information wants to be free, we’ve been pricing out all the people who want to play with our data to see what interesting things they can build, remix, and give away.
Breaking down those barriers has been one of my primary goals since I joined eBay last summer. We got partly there in June, and we’ve completed the journey today. Now all I need is to do my job and convince you to start writing eBay applications because I can’t use the pricing excuse with my boss anymore.
Fortunately, we are also launching a pretty sweet coding contest — eBay Developer Challenge 2006 — today. First place gets $5,000 plus a free trip to the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. We will pay for plane and hotel, and O’Reilly has kicked in a ticket to the show. Runners up can get money, iPods, xBoxen, trips to eTech, etc.
There’s lots of really interesting applications waiting to be built that hook up to eBay. Since the eBay database is always changing: new items being added, existing items being bid on, old items being sold, the data is quite dynamic.
From my point of view, dynamic data -> dynamic applications -> useful applications -> happy users. And I like happy users.