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EmailLabs Opens API
By Kevin Newcomb
August 22, 2003

E-mail marketing solutions provider EmailLabs this week opened up its Application Programming Interface (API) to developers in a bid to push its platform as an e-mail marketing technology standard.

By providing its API as a Web service, EmailLabs will enable companies to take advantage of automated programming tools to develop and deploy new "EmailLabs-aware" applications. This can be done both by customers who use the product and by partners who want to integrate functions of their own application with functions of the EmailLabs platform.

"Companies can start using our functionality as a web service and tying us into their complementary applications," David W. Sousa, EmailLabs CEO and co-founder, told ASPnews. "We also do it with our customers so their developers can start integration. They need to make sure all their data is in sync and they don't have different data sources where the data is not in line with each other."

A program's API defines the proper way to request services from that program. The API layer enables each task within the EmailLabs system to be achieved without human intervention. The API can automate common tasks, such as data upload and mirroring. It can also be used to bypass the online interface and connect the EmailLabs technology to the client's existing technology and interface.

Companies make requests by including calls in the code of their applications. By providing a means for requesting program services, an API grants access to or opens an application. Anything that can be done by an end-user via the online EmailLabs login can also be done programmatically via the EmailLabs API. The functionality of the user console and the API are identical. Any programming language can be used to access the API, just so long as it can make TCP/IP requests.

"By opening the API and letting our clients access our technology from a programming level, companies can use our functionality as a part of their own. Ultimately, we view the API as a way we can become a technology standard for organizations to use," Sousa said.

Sousa expects the API will appeal to partners who develop business applications, including salesforce automation, call center and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. EmailLabs is making the source code available at no charge, although there is a monthly fee for the user to connect an application to EmailLabs through the API.

"The fact is, many email marketers haven't been as successful as they could be because they haven't fully integrated their email campaign learnings -- from both email and Web site activities -- with existing customer data," Sousa said. "The API makes database integration easy and basically seamless."

The API is already being used by EmailLabs partners to re-implement the EmailLabs user interface as well as by clients who want to use a portion of the EmailLabs functionality as a part of their application.

In one example, EmailLabs partner CrownPeak Technology, a leading hosted content management provider, used the API to create its AdvantageMail interface. The interface enables its clients to create, edit and move email newsletters through workflow. Once these newsletters are ready to publish, clients can publish them directly into a system managed by EmailLabs. AdvantageMail automatically creates the HTML version, the text version, and the AOL-Friendly version and pushes them out to the selected email campaign through EmailLabs.

Similarly, Pinnacle Systems is using the EmailLabs API to automate data transfers between its in-house CRM and the EmailLabs database. Agilent, another client, is using the API to automate the sending of emails based on customer-specific customer service request events.