Who Knew: Companies Listen When 10,000 Developers Say They Want an API

Give us the API!

Well, that may be a bit of a stretch. But when local developer John Britton posted this request on the LinkedIn developer forums to centralize the developer demand for a company search API, the thread got 50 comments and more than 10,000 views. And although it wasn’t the first time someone had complained about the lack of a company search function, this time LinkedIn added the feature less than two months after Mr. Britton’s request on April 17:

There are many requests for company search on the LinkedIn forums that are more than a year old. As a developer using the LinkedIn API I want to request that the feature be added and have created this thread for developers and users to show their support of this feature request.

I created http://whoworks.at which is a Google Chrome extension for viewing your LinkedIn connections who work at the site you’re viewing. It’s currently not possible to reliably determine the company id from a domain, and LinkedIn does not have a Company Search API.

After scores of developers chimed in to echo their support, LinkedIn engineer Adam Trachtenberg posted a welcome update on May 26: “We are happy to announce that we launched today a Company Search API (along with a number of other company features, such as following a company). Additionally, we launched similar functionality for Jobs and Jobs Search. We look forward to seeing all the fantastic applications you create using these APIs.”

Mr. Britton has worked on the extension that inspired the original request, WhoWorks.At, which shows you who you’re connected to via LinkedIn based on the site you’re looking at. So if you’re thinking of taking an interview at ZocDoc, for example, and browsing the company’s site for research, you can click on the WhoWorks.At extension and see if there are any friends you can ping for advice. Mr. Britton was actually offered a chance to work on the extension full time at an incubator, he told Betabeat, but he declined. “I’m busy with P2PU now,” he said, referring to the nonprofit online learning start-up he recently left a job at Twilio for.

Who Knew: Companies Listen When 10,000 Developers Say They Want an API