Monday, May 18, 2009

Yahoo BOSS - Freer Than Free

A client of mine asked me about the Yahoo BOSS API. I hadn't heard of it, so I poked around. It appears to be your typical search API, which has Google has been offering for for some time. But, with a key difference:

Search APIs are nothing new, but typically they've included rate limits, strict terms of service regarding the re-ordering and presentation of results, and provided little or no opportunity for monetization. These constraints have limited the innovation and commercial viability of new search solutions.

In other words, Yahoo wants to build your next app on their infrastructure, and will not only give you it for free, but let you customize it and take all the credit.

I think this is a really clever solution for dealing with a competitor (Google) that's giving away a product for free. Yahoo's taking the notion of free, and stepping it up a notch, to include more than one would expect.

And it seems like it would work too - if I'm building my startup on the cheap, why wouldn't I choose the Yahoo API that makes it look like I did all the development, versus the Google API that is plastered with Powered By Google.

To me, Yahoo looked at the rules (you have to give attribution to the search engine) and then broke them. Well played Yahoo.

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