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Fri, 13 Nov 2009 16:41:17 GMT
Don't Change Your API

In mid-August, Amazon changed their product API. They announced the change well in advance, but I didn't allocate a lot of time to fixing my numerous Web services that depended on it. Rather, I simply shut down all the services and even let one website (HelloSanta.org) break. Yesterday and today, I took the time to rewrite the HelloSanta website to include the API changes. It took a few hours and it worked. One line of code was replaced by 10 lines, plus an entirely new class. Quite a change.

In the meanwhile, Amazon suffered thru 3 months of my website being down. I lost a few bucks and Amazon lost a few bucks as well. Not a lot for me. Not a lot for Amazon, unless you consider that they had ten of thousands (maybe millions) of broken Web services, many of which generated substantially more sales than mine. What they did was chop off their longtail. The Long Tail is a theory put forth by Chris Anderson that the Internet generates an enormous amount of wealth/traffic/profit from massive amounts of low value services. Something to think about before you change your own established Web API.

http://www.hellosanta.org/

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