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API Ratings August 10-17, 2020: Poor Old Federal Communications Commission

The time of the week has once more come round for API ratings over the past seven days. We now find ourselves into the second half of August and temperatures have at least subsided a bit here in Europe.

We launched API.expert earlier in the year 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!

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

Now, onto what the past week tells us about the state of the world of APIs as we dive into the second full week of August 2020!

API Ratings: The Headlines

We look at over 200 APIs, but pull all the metrics together into these API ratings 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 the top spot in their category, including GitHub and Google, with others doing less well, such as Halifax and the NHS.

Top API Ratings – CASC Score

Week Ending 17 August 2020

Category    Organization    CASC score
Corporate Infrastructure GitHub 9.60
Covid-19 ECDC (European Cente for Disease Prevention and Control) 9.21
Cryptocurrency Exchanges Coinpaprika 9.50
PSD2 Banks Nordea Bank 9.89
Search Google 9.46
Social Networks Twitter 9.73
UK Open Banking (Open Data) Bank of Ireland 9.83
UK Government GOV.UK 9.81
US Government Department of Justice 9.68


A pretty stable week for once in this API ratings category, with only three changes:

  • ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) replacing NovelCOVID (lmao.ninja) in Covid-19
  • Coinpaprika replacing BitMEX in Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • Department of Justice replacing Environmental Systems Research Institute in US Government

Nordea Bank retains the API ratings crown for the private sector with a fine CASC score of 9.89 (the same as last week). A CASC score of over 9.00 is very good and one of 9.50 or more exceptional.

Five of the nine categories are headed by an organization with a CASC score of 9.50 or more this week down from six last week (but one Google has a CASC score of 9.49 in Search). Sustaining a CASC score of >9.25 over a period of several weeks is a good showing and congratulations to those organizations that achieved it.

Top API Ratings – Latency

Week Ending 17 August 2020

Category    Organization    Median latency
Corporate Infrastructure Microsoft Office 228 ms
Covid-19 CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 156 ms
Cryptocurrency Exchanges FTX 241 ms
PSD2 Banks Nordea Bank 168 ms
Search Facebook 317 ms
Social Networks Google 57 ms
UK Open Banking (Open Data) HSBC 76 ms
UK Government Police.UK 89 ms
US Government Department of Justice 65 ms

Yet another stable week this week in this stable API ratings category, with no changes again to the top performers.

Google takes the overall title again with a median latency of 57 ms in Social Networks (the same median latency as last week).

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!

As so often, FTX tops the Cryptocurrency Exchange category by median latency, but this week is down to fifteenth out of 18 overall with a CASC score of 8.07, placing them to the lower end of the Green Zone.

But it is still worth remembering that it’s no good just being fast if you are flaky, although being fast does help!

Worst API Ratings

Week Ending 17 August 2020

Category Organization CASC score
Corporate Infrastructure Nobody below 8.00!
Covid-19 Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) 6.39
Cryptocurrency Exchanges RadarRelay 6.54
PSD2 Banks Nobody below 8.00!
Search Nobody below 8.00!
Social Networks Nobody below 8.00!
UK Government NHS 7.06
UK Open Banking (Open Data) HSBC 7.98
US Government Federal Communications Commission 5.43

Also a pretty stable this week with just one change: Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) swapping with Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19api.com) in Covid-19.

The Federal Communications Commission takes the overall worst API ratings trophy again with an even worse CASC score of 5.43, placing it very firmly in the Red Zone.

Something of interest

The poor old Federal Communications Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have swapped places at the bottom of the US Government category. They could both do with some Tender Loving Care from someone who understands APIs.

API Ratings August 10-17, 2020

They are both firmly in the Red Zone. Their pass rates aren’t too bad, it’s the number of outliers and the likely the standard deviation of the latency that is killing them. One area that FCC could look to is DNS lookup time.

API Ratings August 10-17, 2020

Azure and IBM Cloud are the same, but both pretty slow. Contrast with the BLS.

API Ratings August 10-17, 2020

BLS has a DNS Lookup Time of 4 ms from everywhere. That’s a pretty stark contrast with FCC, which has the best value of 29 ms from AWS, more than 7x longer, and the worst value 31x. It might be an easy win necessarily to improve the DNS, but it is something that can cut tens of milliseconds off the median latency and have a big impact on the CASC score and user perception of an API.

See you again in a week as we look once more at our API ratings!





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