Mashups enable end-users to "mix and match" data and services available on the web to create applications. Their creation is supported by a complex ecosystem of i) data providers who offer open APIs to users, ii) users who combine APIs into mashups, and iii) platforms, such as the ProgrammableWeb or Mashape, that facilitate the construction and publication of mashups. In this article, we argue that the evolution of the mashup ecosystem can be explained in terms of ecosystem niches anchored around hub or keystone APIs. The members of a niche are focused on an area of specialization (e.g., mapping applications) and contribute their knowledge to the value proposition of the ecosystem as a whole. To demonstrate the formation of niches in the mashup ecosystem, we model groups of related mashups as species, and we reconstruct the evolution of mashup species through phylogenetic analysis.

Additional Metadata
Keywords ecosystems, evolution, growth, keystones, mashups, niche formation, recombinant innovation, speciation
Journal Technology Innovation Management Review
Weiss, M, Sari, Solange, & Noori, Nadia. (2013). Niche formation in the mashup ecosystem. Technology Innovation Management Review, 13–17.