The beauty of Web as it stands today is that there is quite of bit of information ready for the taking - open for mixing, mashing and working into existing applications as you see fit. Sometimes however you need a little creative inspiration - and in a depressed economy, sometimes that's hard to come by. Here are few APIs you can use today and some possible ideas to make them work for you or your website/company.
RentRent API - Search Craigslist Properties: RentRent.org has made available an API that searches local Craigslist entries (information is gathered every few hours) for rental properties including apartments and houses. The API gives developers the ability to integrate rental searches with mapping applications and APIs, returns specific locations, the type of property, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, even if pets are allowed. While Craigslist has often frowned upon (and prevented) others from using this data, it might be a good idea to investigate such APIs when everyone loses their homes thanks to the subprime crisis.
NetFlix API: Thanks to the failing economy, you 'll be spending much more time at home. Reward yourself with a few movies and perhaps the NetFlix API. The popular online movie rental and review site Netflix released an API that provides developers with access to 100,000 movie and TV episode titles on DVD as well as Netflix account access on a user's behalf. The API is free and is available for commercial use, meaning that you enterprising developers can monetize applications and mashups developed with the Netflix API.
Xignite API: Xignite, a provider of on-demand financial web services for applications, announced the availability of XigniteGlobalQuotes a few weeks ago. The Web API delivers delayed stock quotes from global established and emerging markets such as the London Stock Exchange, Mumbai Stock Exchange and a whole host of others. If that's doesn't get you thinking about all the ways you can leverage the down economy then nothing will.
indeed API: If you lose your job, fear not! Savvy developers are able to search the Indeed job index using an XML interface. This allows for the submission of job searches and the ability to receive results via a structured XML feed which can be incorporated into a website or application. Indeed Web Services may be used free of charge for commercial and non-commercial purposes. All you will need is an API key. Possible ideas are for using the Indeed API are custom job search for a specific industry or as a means to manage job listings internally.
Zillow API: If you're sitting pretty financially as your neighbors get evicted, swoop in and buy their house - you could own the whole block. This could be made infiitely easier thanks to the Zillow API network which provides programmatic access to home valuation (including estimates, search results, and charts), property details and local real estate information. Sure, your neighbors might hate you but you'll be crying all the way to the bank.
Now it's time to put your thinking caps on. Here are a few other API's that Website Magazine has covered over the years: