"While APIs are growing in popularity, and more and more companies are launching their own public APIs, it is increasingly clear that public APIs aren’t a good fit for every company. In some cases, companies can only determine that a public API isn’t a viable proposition by launching one and seeing how the market reacts and its needs evolve. In other cases, however, the desirability and viability of a public API is questionable from the outset."
ESPN Decides to Shutdown Its Public API via ProgrammableWeb
Not much of a surprise, but disappointing nonetheless. The challenge of supporting a public API is that many companies fail to truly buy into the long-term benefits of openness. The value of the API has little to do with immediate returns, but as a driver for innovation that is outside of the organization. In many ways, this is analogous to setting up corporate innovation centers and entrepreneur-in-residence programs, but completely outside of a companies direct control. But such programs require investment and patience to evolve to the point where it generates potentially valuable innovations and new solutions. I suspect that is the case with the ESPN API, a grand idea without a well thought out program to evangelize or to give it the full support it needed to thrive as an innovation community.