Partnerships can be formed in many ways, recently, there has
been a surge in competitions which partners developers with
companies who develop API platforms such as facebook and bit.ly.
Here is a live case study which looks at the benefits and
limitations of such partnerships.
CloudFlare launched a competition that awards a $1,000 cash
prize to the Hackathon hacker who creates the best CloudFlare App.
The developers are provided with a CloudFlare API framework to
create the apps as well a globally distributed infrastructure on
which to launch them. A competition like this which creates
partnerships has many pros and cons for all parties involved.
The obvious benefactor, besides the lucky individual who will
receive this actual cheque -
Are the organisers - CloudFlare, who aim to use this competition
as a catalyst to discover talented developers and good apps to add
to their CloudFlare App marketplace. The organisers are
also getting an increase in downloads of their API framework from
their target audience and generating more interest in their
platforms. Competitions like this also provide an opportunity to
create loyal and long lasting relationships as it is likely that
developers will continue to use their framework for future projects
if they find it to be helpful. This partnership could also be used
to gain market insights as it is essentially crowd sourcing trends
through an unobtrusive market research exercise. A limitation of
this competition for CloudFlare is that they cannot control what
types of apps will be developed.
The developers will also benefit from this partnership
competition as it helps them to get their work noticed and also
provides the added benefit of additional marketing support to
extend their reach within the market place. As CloudFlare provides
the API framework, it could be assumed that they will also provide
some level of troubleshooting. However, there are also some
limitations to consider for the developers. Depending on the rules
and restrictions, there may be a lack of ownership once the app has
been developed. Since every app is different, competitions like
this may be considered to be a waste of time and deter developers
as there could be restrictions of the amount of resources that are
available to use.
Cloudflare are not the first nor will they be the last company
to run this type of competition. For example in 2009 Bit.ly
asked developers to use their API and do something interesting,
useful, and unique or that enables others to more easily use the
So, in short, competitions which generate partnerships are
useful for both parties, with the benefits outweighing the
limitations. It is often the case that the rules and regulations of
the competition itself cause the majority of limitations in its
restrictions. So, an understanding of the space, your
audience and the opportunities enables these types of competitions
to create great, lasting partnerships that are a real benefit to