I continue to be impressed by the most recent technology trend of creating application programming interfaces (APIs) for the purpose of exposing commercial data. One such example is Netflix API.
Just think of the countless ways others can create their own applications using the Netflix API: add a movie search capability to your website (without storing any of the information), create a Netflix iPhone app to instantly add a movie to your queue, or post your Netflix movie review scores to a social network site, etc.
Not only does this type of openness allow for new application possibilities, but it also creates an organic way of advertising for those companies willing to share their data. No ad agency costs, no magazine inserts, or TV spots. Just announce that you’re opening your data to the Internet, and watch the possibilities unfold.
I only hope other companies, including even those whose core competency may not be technology, think about disclosing their non-personal, non-proprietary information.