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Still, there are costs to be considered. If you offer a level of free access, you have to enforce the conditions that trigger payment. It could entail: • Metering service and producing a bill every month • Enforcing a special rate limit and giving the third party a service-level agreement • Inserting extra data fields if the client is willing to pay for more licensed content You might also face additional requests: • Support for compliance with regulations: SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) compliant logging or support of HIPAA for healthcare information, or PCI (credit card compliance) for transactional APIs • Reporting on the cost of the data served by the API There are pros and cons to such models.

The Value of Internal ROI The business model that is most underreported but which harbors the most potential impact is the internal ROI model, a subset of the indirect model shown in Figure 3-5. If we have any qualms about Musser’s diagram, it’s that this business model appears as just one of many. While this may be true in terms of actual numbers of business model types, the Internal ROI model represents the vast majority of the underwater mass in the iceberg analogy. Many leading enterprise are reinventing their internal infrastructure to be more like a Facebook, a Google, an Amazon, or a Twitter.

Establish a Clear Business Objective First, and fundamentally, the key question to answer relates to exactly why you have decided to create an API to begin with. What is the business purpose of the API? What are you trying to achieve? What problem are you trying to solve? What opportunity are you trying to take advantage of? These are the fundamental business questions your strategy must answer, and they hearken back to an even more fundamental issue: your corporate vision statement and your vision for the API.

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