New Subscription Model for Bing Search API Results in Developer Backlash
Microsoft is planning to transition to a monthly subscription model for use of its Bing Search API in applications and Web sites, charging developers roughly $40 per month for up to 20,000 queries, the company announced on Thursday. The move will result in "fresher data," according to Microsoft, which plans to offer the Search API on its Windows Azure Marketplace for cloud and data services.
The transition is expected to take a few months, and developers will be able to use the Bing Search API 2.0 for free during that time, according to the company.
The announcement was made in a Bing Developer Blog that outlined the upcoming changes:
As a Bing Search API developer, you can expect the transition to involve targeting a new API end point, moderate changes to the request and response schemas, and a new security requirement to authenticate your application key. Developers using approximately 3 to 4 million queries and above can expect to transition through a separate process (details will be provided shortly).
The subscription model caught many developers off guard. Several responses to the announcement voiced concerns about the impact of the monthly fees on use of Bing Search engines in apps for non-profits, smaller scale projects and Windows Phone software.
From Christian Kroll:
My application uses high volumes of the Bing API. We currently have about 700,000 queries a day. How much will we have to pay in future? What will be the cost of 1,000 search queries?I hope you understand that you are putting many businesses at risk with that step. Please at least provide some more details!?
As you make this transition, I would anticipate most developers abandoning Bing search for one of the many free services available. As a small time WP7 app developer I cannot and will not spend $40/month to get search results. I do not expect my voice will matter, but expect one less developer to be using and promoting Bing, probably many more to follow unless a free option is made available. This is a shame sense Microsoft needs the developer community to use and promote its tools before the average user will even notice. WP7 is a perfect example and is based entirely around Bing. Removing the ability for developers to use Bing will splinter the WP7 apps and force developers to use your competitors' tools instead. Hoping someone will consider these concerns, Loyal .NET / WP7 developer…But where is the loyalty from Bing?
So those of us using the search API on small scale apps still have to fork out $40pm or watch them fall over in a heap with ridiculous short notice. Should have stuck with Google, thanks a lot Bing.
The Bing Team responded to developers' concerns about fees and use of the API for small scale apps as follows:
Thanks for the feedback. We are absolutely thinking about ways to enable smaller scale applications to keep experimenting with the API. Please stay tuned for more details over the next several weeks.
Express your thoughts on the planned subscription model for use of the Bing Search API. Did you see this coming? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Kathleen Richards on 04/12/2012 at 12:54 PM