What's more impressive - that Convio is announcing their own Open API today OR that they reached out to fundraising bloggers last week and gave them advanced notice that an announcement was coming?
Word first leaked out on A View from Home yesterday afternoon. Beth Kantor read the post and shared that she too had been tipped in advance:
I received an embargoed press release in my email about Convio's Open Initiative. Blogger's angst. Do you post first and scoop all? Have to be pretty confident about your opinion. Or do you sit back and read what others are saying and add to the conversation? I tend to do the latter if I'm jet lagged. I tend to the former if I've had lots of sleep, know a lot about the topic, and a strong reaction.Within hours, blogs like Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology, the NTEN blog, Acceleration Agent, and the Nonprofit Matrix were all lighting up Technorati with posts about Convio's Open Initiative.
If it's true that Convio has, seemingly, gotten some serious Web 2.0 religion... what better way to prove it than to create buzz on the network of nonprofit fundraising blogs in a coordinated fashion. At least they practice what they preach.
The coordination with bloggers not only gave Convio widespread coverage, it also allowed them better control of the message. While Kintera might have been beaten them to the announcement, Convio is stressing some significant differences in the product.
The Convio Open Initiative is a combination of applications, integration tools, APIs (application programming interfaces) and partnerships. It is more than just APIs, but extensions and "database connectors." In the end, it will come down to execution... and at least for now, it appears Convio's approach is more focused on an outward, community approach.
One of the first products launched as part of Convio Open is a client-ready Facebook application that will help nonprofits leverage the personal networks of Facebook’s 40M+ subscribers to virally market on behalf of organizations they support, providing nonprofits with a major channel for new supporter acquisition. The extension will allow organizations to present personalized content to Facebook users, who can complete actions on behalf of an organization without leaving the Facebook site. Organizations can track both activities they facilitate and the origin of any new supporter from Facebook.. This data is stored in the organization’s Convio online constituent relationship management (eCRM) system. The application is available to users in on a limited basis in beta format at http://open.convio.com/.The folks in Austin will be demonstrating Convio APIs at the Annual Convio Client Summit on Thursday. The changes should allow integration between Convio and custom Web applications, extensions that allow integration with open platforms such as Facebook, Flickr and Plaxo, and database connectors for popular donor/constituent databases such as Salesforce.com.
We'd love to hear feedback from users of both systems.