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Home » Developer, Shopping Comparison, Web Services

First Look at the new CNET API : Mashing up CNET Shopper

Submitted by on February 7, 2007 – 3:07 pm5 Comments

CNET recently launched an API at the start of the month.  I must be out of the loop because I didn’t know about it until my brother mentioned it to me.  The API allows access to its suite of products including CNET Shopper and Download.com.  From CNET:

“Referred to as the CNET API, this service will make a wealth of data available to the mashup community in the creation of rich consumer sites. The initial dataset will include CNET’s full catalog of technology products and software titles. This is the same dataset that drives the highly trafficked sites of CNET Reviews, Shopper.com and Download.com. Over time, the API will add news articles, community content, blog posts and full product reviews.”

Ok… To the good stuff.  Obviously it was launched as “beta”, so I wasn’t expecting too much, but I was eager to try it right away.  The whole shopping dataset portion didn’t work — at all.  Aside from the fact that “beta” no longer has any meaning, I decided to wait it out.  I came back to the CNET Dashboard today, and this time it was working (lucky me).  The API is REST and supports both XML and JSON.  I’d prefer SOAP, but no biggy.  At first glance the CNET API structure seems to have some similarities to the Shopping.com API.  The added value comes from the Editors’ Rating, the Editors’ Choice, and the Good/Bad/Bottom Line commentary.  Overall, CNET seems to be on track with this offering, and I’m pretty excited to see where they go with it.

Pros: REST, Tech Only (Focused), Editors’ Rating / Choice, Bottom-Line Commentary
Cons: Tech Only (Narrow), Beta

My initial questions: Where do I find additional documentation?  Plans for Revenue Sharing?

Aside from the Shopper data, the access to their Software (Download.com) data is pretty sweet, but I was unable to figure out how to do a keyword-search query.

Now CNET, Yahoo! Shopping and Shopping.com all provide generally accessible comparison shopping API access.  PriceGrabber and Shopzilla still seem to be hiding in the shadows.

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  • http://api.cnet.com Bill Graham

    Thanks for the feedback! I’ll address a few of your comments:

    We had to take down the tech portion of the dashboard briefly this week, but it’s back up and ready for use. Sorry that you tried it at a bad time, and thanks for coming back.

    We made an early release of the API and the dashboard available so developers could start giving it a shot, and hopefully provide feedback. We’re currently in the process of preparing our documentation and other general information for the api.cnet.com site. Stay tuned…

    Keyword search for Download.com software is currently in development and should be available next month.

    Once we get out of beta, we are planning to ultimately support rev share with the API.

  • Bryce

    Do you still offer consulting help with developing shopping sites? If so, how does this work?

    Thanks

  • Bill Graham

    CNET launched documentation of the API last week. Check it out:

    http://api.cnet.com

  • http://www.dropshiparea.com Alex

    Beta – do they allow all developers join their API program? I contacted shopping.com about 10 days back – no answer.

  • Bill Graham

    Yes, anyone can join the program.

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