In a spot-on post today, Om criticized the LinkedIN API and gave it a "D", for "Disappointing".
I couldn't agree more. In the commentary, Darren nails it on the biggest issue (which I'll expand upon below) and Steve Newman correctly points out that a properly managed API with OAuth can address the privacy concerns.At Mashery we power dozens of successful APIs. Before we set out to build our first release almost four years ago, we did research that looked at hundreds of APIs and compared those that were "successful" (had a strong ecosystem of apps around it) with those that were not (had few apps or developers). Across the board, the biggest factor that correlated with a lack of success was the lack of the ability to self-provisoin a key at any time, day or night, and get to work developing. Of course that key can be limited in quantity of data, available; we have also seen "provisional" keys limited to accessing sample data or limited to accessing only the developer's own personal info during a test phase. Either way, though, the signup-and-wait barrier is the single biggest factor in the lack of adoption. Click on the "Developers" link in the footer and you are given three widgets as options, plus a tab or link that goes to a form requiring all kinds of info about your intentions before you get a key. I talk to a lot of developers. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have been asked if I can help someone (large or small) get access to the LinkedIn API. There is a massive ecosystem of people out there who want to make LinkedIn more valuable. I look forward to these upcoming announcements, and hope they will include a truly open API