Update: As per the official press release, Rediff the initiative is called Sociali. What’s most interesting – and most commenting on the initiative don’t appear to have realized this – is that the opening up of the API extends beyond Rediffs social applications like connexions, iLand and iShare. This means that it will eventually be possible to create applications for the news portal (Rediff mentioned apps like creating a timeline for news). The one I’m looking forward to most, are applications for Rediff Moneywiz…how about a “Create your own Index” app?

Original story: You’re reading it here first: MediaNama has learned that Nasdaq listed Rediff.com is planning to open up its API for developers, allowing them to create applications. We’re not sure of when Rediff is officially going to announce this, but a confirmation comes by means of a link – http://developer.rediff.com/ . Rediff is offering grants of Rs. 250,000 for innovating application ideas. Details on the documentation here.

The word is that iShare, Rediff’s video sharing platform, will be the first service to be be opened to developers. Interestingly, Rediff has decided to comply with the FBML(Facebook markup language) and OpenSocial. Looks like there’s money to be made for application developers – to create an Apps Economy.

Thoughts on Apps

This is interesting in the context that at Proto yesterday, I was discussing “Application Fatigue” with a few people. A month or so ago, I logged into Facebook, and individually deleted most of the applications that I’ve subscribed to. I prefer Facebook Mobile anyway, because its cleaner and more usable. In fact, someone mentioned that they’ve actually begun to appreciate Facebooks core features much more now.

Perhaps this is natural progression for the Apps space – that only the ones that offer significant value to a user will sustain, and the others will die after a limited time-span of success. That’s a thread that persisted throughout the day yesterday at Proto – people spoke of SEO for Blogs, “Viral Coefficient” and other jazz, but my take is that while virality will get you new users (and “uniques”), but it is repeat usage that counts, and that only comes if there is value in your product and content.

What kind of growth do you want? A spike (sharp rise, sharp fall), or a sustained one?

What this means for Rediff

Most important aspect of this development is that it allows Rediff to reduce expenditure on developing new features, with an incentive (revenue share) for developers. Any established company has processes, systems – and perhaps too many heads – that slow down development and innovation. Which is why people expect real innovation from startups, and not large corporations. This effectively is outsourcing of development, with long term monetary incentive for developers.

(PS: you may also send up an anonymous tip-off here)