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I have a business question regarding web-based software licensing. A number of web sites offer software as a service for various APIs. A good example is Google's Custom Search API. The process to use web services typically resembles:

  1. Account. User creates an account.
  2. Server. User defines the IP address(es) of the server(s) that will make API requests.
  3. Key. User receives a public API key for the desired API(s).
  4. Guide. User is given documentation that shows how to use the API key to make a request.
  5. Test. User can make test requests to verify integration functionality.
  6. Billing. User pays to activate the account.
  7. Production. User integrates the web service into their applications.
  8. Deactivation. System deactivates accounts when expired, exceeds request limit, etc.

These requirements are in addition to integration with the service being licensed.


That is a lot of work for a small business.


What off-the-shelf, open source projects address this problem?

If there are no such projects, what would you do to architect a viable, low-cost solution (ideally, a percentage of each license)? That is, what software or existing commercial services would you use for a small business (having little to no income) that seeks to license web-based services?

Thank you!

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No idea of their costs, but Mashable may be an option: & – Eric Brandel Jan 4 '13 at 7:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This problem is called API Management and there are a number of solutions.

Integrated Billing - FOSS

Solutions that offer integrated billing that are Open Source, free, or charge a percentage (based on subscriptions, so no up-front fees):

Integrated Billing - Commercial

Solutions that offer integrated billing, but charge for services:


Various sites and software that offer partial solutions from which a complete solution can be created.

API Management




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