B2C's that grew to offer B2D's - Part One
Salesforce, Facebook, Snapchat, Airbnb and Uber are B2C companies that also adopted a B2D business model by offering developer platforms.
Below you will find a deep dive of my findings and methodology.
To complete your request, I reviewed the previous response and your feedback. I then researched for examples of B2C companies which also adopted a B2D business model by launching developer platforms. To avoid duplicating the previous research, I looked for a fresh batch of case studies for this research. I found the B2C companies Salesforce, Uber, Airbnb and Snapchat. I also included Facebook as it was mentioned in the request details. Throughout my research, I found that adoption of a B2D model rarely caused trouble for the company. On the contrary, developer platforms have been requested by the developer community and subsequently expanded by the host company. Please continue below to see the results of my research.
Salesforce is primarily a B2C software company that sells Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products. In 2014, the company launched Trailhead for Salesforce users who wanted to develop apps on its platform.
I found no reports of Salesforce problems resulting from the launch of Trailhead. On the contrary, Salesforce has since then poured resources and effort to optimize its learning environment for app developers.
In 2016, Salesforce expanded Trailhead with Superbadges, a developer platform for hands-on training. The company also announced the creation of a $50 million Lightning Fund to invest in Lightning app developers who are able to improve and extend Salesforce capabilities.
Social network Facebook adopted a B2D model as early as 2007, when it launched the Facebook Developer Platform. Previously called "Canvas", the platform was originally launched as a tool for app developers to embed apps and extensions in the social network. I found no reports of Facebook problems from launching Canvas. In fact, one year later Facebook expanded the borders of Canvas and launched Facebook Connect in 2008 to allow developers to create apps outside Facebook. By 2013, Mashable reported that over 10 million external apps and websites have been integrated into Facebook via Connect.
Facebook deepened its relationship with developers when it launched Open Graph in 2011. Through Open Graph, developers allowed external apps to share information on a user's timeline, such as Nike+ and run time data. Mashable reported that Open Graph app integration with Facebook have been "exceptionally popular with developers".
The company has since followed up with other B2D products such as Facebook for Developers, AR studio and others.
Social network Snapchat launched its developer platform Lens Studio only this December 2017. TechCrunch reported that the company has finally opened up to developers interested in creating augmented reality (AR) experiences to add to Snapchat's in-house designs.
The Lens Studio developer tool for AR enables developers to build a World Lens that places interactive 3D objects in Snapchat users' images and videos. However, Lens creators will have to partner with businesses to monetize their AR effects through Sponsored Lens ads.
TechCrunch observed that Lens Studio could help Snapchat catch up with Facebook, which launched its own Camera Effects AR developer platform in December 2017.
There has been no reports yet of Snapchat having problems with its launch of Lens Studio.
Transportation network company Uber first launched its developer platform Uber API in 2014. The company also launched an Affiliate Program for developers using Uber API.
I did not find any report of trouble arising from Uber's launch of Uber API. The company has since followed up with the launches of Rides API, Ride Request endpoint, Trip Experiences API and UberRUSH API. In 2016, Uber launched the Driver API to further integrate the Uber Platform with external apps and websites such as Jobcase, Sears, Stride and Activehours.
Hospitality network company Airbnb launched its Official Airbnb API only in October 2017. The company has been noted for its reticence to accept partnership requests from outside developers and websites. This resulted in developer hacking and workaround attempts to get information from Airbnb's API.
However, Airbnb has taken early cautious steps towards openness such as its launch of Host Assist in 2015, which enabled integration of external tools and services. Though there were no reports of Airbnb having trouble with Host Assist, the company reportedly did not follow up with concrete initiatives towards launching an open developer platform until last year.
The Official Airbnb API is not yet open to everyone. Interested developers may submit an application to access the platform. The company has launched an updated affiliate program in September 2017 before unveiling the Official Airbnb API. There has been no reports of Airbnb having trouble with the launch of its official API at the moment.
To wrap it up, I found 5 examples of B2C companies that also adopted a B2D business model by offering developer platforms. These are Salesforce, Facebook, Snapchat, Airbnb and Uber. There has been no reports about any of the companies above retracting their platforms. On the contrary, developer platforms have been requested by the developer community and subsequently expanded by the host company.