API Ratings: Who won the week? | February 3-10, 2020

We are already well into February! And the moment of the week where we consider the State of the APIs over the last seven days is upon us. We recently launched API.expert as a simple way to provide everybody with insights into the API economy and the leading APIs in different categories in particular. The basic service is free and will remain free, but other, related services will be built on top of it, including your very own API.expert dashboards if you want them! 

Each week, month and year we’ll look at the APIs we track in a variety of sectors for their quality (using our patent pending CASC score) and other factors like uptime and availability. 

If something is missing that you think should be here, don’t hesitate to drop us a line! 

Now, onto what the last seven days and last month can tells us about where the world of APIs is in early February 2020.

API Performance Headlines 

We look at over 200 APIs and pull all the metrics together to give you a general feeling for the service quality for an organization’s APIs in a particular category.  

We do see that certain providers consistently vie for top spot in their category including Twitter, Slack and Github with others doing less well such as Cisco’s Spark services. 

Top Performers based on overall quality in each category were: 

CASC score

Week ending February 10, 2020

CategoryOrganizationCASC score
Corporate InfrastructureGitHub961
Cryptocurrency ExchangesLATOKEN951
PSD2 BanksBNP Paribas
Social NetworksTwitter
UK GovernmentGOV.UK982
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Bank of Ireland970
US GovernmentGeneral Services Administration964
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Two changes this week with Twitter replacing Google (including YouTube) in Social Networks ad GOV.UK Police.UK in UK Government.  GOV.UK displaces Bank of Ireland as best overall this week with a superb CASC score of 982 that proves that sometimes government can do things right.  We will see whether it is possible to sustain these stratospheric CASC scores.

A CASC score of over 900 is very good and one of 950 or more exceptional. Six of the nine categories are headed by organization with a CASC score of 950 or more this week, which is a very good showing. Sustaining a CASC score of >925 over a month is a good showing. Congratulations to those organizations that achieved it!

Top performers by latency 

Week Ending February 10, 2020 

CategoryOrganizationMedian latency
Corporate InfrastrutureSlack186 ms
Cryptocurrency ExchangesFTX250 ms
PSD2 banksBNP Paribas138 ms
SearchGoogle392 ms
Social NetworksGoogle129 ms
UK GovernmentPolice.UK79 ms
UK Open banking (Open Data)HSBC82 ms
US GovernmentDepartment of Justice73 ms
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Again, only two changes this week with Slack replacing GitHub in Corporate Infrastructure and Google Foursquare in Search. An important caveat: medians can be misleading! An API might have a fast median latency but produce many slow outliers. These won’t affect the median, but they mean that users can experience many calls that were unacceptably slow.

So just being fast isn’t everything. You have to be reliable too if you want to have good APIs and get a high CASC score! FTX might have a low latency, but they also have a lot of outliers, which is why they are down to 16 out of 18 in terms of the CASC score. They have 7.44% outliers. It’s no good being fast if you are flaky.

Worst quality across all categories 

Week ending February 10, 2020

CategoryOrganizationCASC Score
Corporate InfrastructureCisco Spark734
Cryptocurrency ExchangesOasis Dex650
PSD2 banksVisa653
Social NetworksSoundcloud850
UK GovernmentNHS464
UK Open banking (Open Data)HSBC800
US GovernmentDepartment of Commerce651
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A few changes this week with Cisco Spark replacing Mailchimp in Corporate Infrastructure, Soundcloud Tumblr in Social Networks and the Department of Commerce NASA in US Government. Perennial underperformer, Oasis Dex retain the overall Wooden Spoon for the week, but Department of Commerce is only 1 point ahead and Visa 3. There is a lot of competition at the bottom. And the bottom isn’t where you want to be competing.

A couple things of interest 

This is the first week that all of the UK Open Banking (Open Data) APIs are in the Green Zone with a CASC score of 800 or more. OK, HSBC only just squeezes over the line with a CASC score of 800, but it does show that it is possible for different organizations in the same category to all manage to maintain performant APIs for a whole seven days. Note that HSBC is fast and available. It is the number of outliers and also the variance in the latency that knocks it down.

Cisco Slack managed 11 hours of downtime out of 168 in the week to 3 February, the worst performance by far this week for any API we monitor. The median latency is 1004 ms, but we see that 1% of calls are taking over 8 seconds. These are calls that succeed. We also see many HTTP 502 Bad Gateway server-side errors. An API from a major global technology should not really be generating on average an hour and half of errors a week or be as slow as it when it works.


API Performance API Expert APImetrics
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See you again in a week to see who have been the movers and shakers of the first full week of February. 

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