How Not To Onboard With Your API: Fiber Locator API
10 Apr 2015
Somewhere during my weekly monitoring I found the Fiber Locator API, which like all APIs, especially the ones that ask me to “request access”, I signed up for the service. Understanding where telecommunications companies have laid fiber optic cable, for me, equals a potentially valuable API resource—sure I would consider integrating these resources into my applications, and systems.
I’m never a big fan of APIs, who make you request access vs self-service registration, but if the API has value, I jump through hoops, so I can can better understand what an API does, which according to the Fiber Locator site:
FiberLocator offers an application programming interface that gives you access to our database of over 265+ carriers, over 272,000 carrier lit buildings locations and 3,000+ data centers. We created our API services so that client companies can augment their own systems and analyses with our unique data sets.
I filled out the form, providing my name, email, phone and company name, the provided the additional details: I am the API Evangelist, and I’d like to write a story about the Fiber Locator API. Something I do a lot. Within 24 hours I received:
Then I got this:
Both of these emails I replied with the same additional details I included with my request for API access. I received a third solicitation, but felt it didn't add any value to the conversation. From what I can tell, the Fiber Locator API is simply a lead generation form, which routes to sales people—I see no evidence of an API.
Maybe there is something really there, if there is, this is not how you on-board people. I may just be writing a story about the API, which you should probably encourage, but that is just me, but if you really want developers to integrate fiber location into their applications and internal systems, you should probably let us kick the tires, see what the service is all about.
Modern APIs are not a lead generation tool, and API evangelism does not equal sales. If I cannot understand what your API platform offers, sign up to get at least a taste of that value, I’m moving on. I’ll keep the Fiber Locator API in my database, but I will not be tuning into what they are up to, because by my definition, they don’t fit the model of a modern API platform.