After the camp rules were set, the various vendors pitched their APIs and then the sessions topics and time slots were allotted. This morning's session on monetization and business models for mashups and API revenue extraction attracted the most attendees so far.
Eleanor Kruszewski of Yahoo Developer Network and Dave Nielsen of StrikeIron led the session on monetization and business models.
How to make money from APIs, they want to know
Here is the MashupCamp wiki page loose transcription of the monetization and business model session. From the discussion, I gleaned that there are several ways to monetize mashups, but much of it is contingent on what you bring to the party in a composite Web application. You can sell APIs and content or give them away for free and monetize them with link referrals. Or give away APIs and the content to a certain threshold level (such as number of transactions) and then start charging. Or get paid for generating a lead, such as a resume mashup. Setting up payment systems, licensing content or services (which license?) that are part of a mashup, how to charge (fixed, flat, variable) and pay all the parties in a mashup are significant problems for mashups. In addition, you need something unique, given that in many mashups the value is in what the API and content/data providers offer.
First to market can be an asset, for several reasons at this point--building a community, attracting early adopters and influencers, and getting on the radar of the the big, acquisitive portal players. At this point mashups are like early colonization of the Web, making it up as they go, but mostly moving forward and trying to keep it as 'democratic' and open as possible.
John Musser's Programmable Web has a list of over 400 mashups and a database of APIs.
Podtech.net is podcasting from MashupCamp, interviewing several attendees.