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The ridiculous pricing of Wolfram Alpha API

I am fan of the Wolfram Alpha right from the day it was released. The computational answer engine from Wolfram Research was one of the coolest things I have seen in a while. Wolfram is capable of almost all types of mathematical processing and in addition it is also capable of responding to natural language based queries. So it can not only give answer to questions like 20 * 30 = ? , but also respond to questions like "who is barack obama?". Check out the examples page for the kind of things Wolfram Alpha is capable of.

Unlike traditional search engine results, the Wolfram output is structured. This means that processing output from it is easy and is extremely useful in large scan data analysis. So an API interface from Wolfram Alpha was eagerly awaited and it was released last week. But the pricing of the API is one of the most ridiculous I have seen in a while. The following is the pricing for personal use (for hobbyists etc.).

ridiculous Wolfram API pricing

What?  $60 dollars for accessing Wolfram API for 1000 times?  I can’t believe that someone in Wolfram could be so retarded to charge almost one dollar for 10  hobbyist requests for the API.  Then you look at companies like Google and think – Man, these are angels from heaven!

Now checkout the terms of use section of API which is worse than many of the free online services(you thought paying through your noise would give you better TOS?). Some examples,

  • Wolfram|Alpha reserves the right to terminate this Agreement or discontinue the Wolfram|Alpha API or any portion or feature thereof for any or no reason and at any time without liability to You.
  • You are required to provide a hyperlink to www.WolframAlpha.com on every page with Results. All hyperlinks associated with data provided by Wolfram|Alpha must navigate directly to Wolfram|Alpha.
  • utilize the Wolfram|Alpha API in association with, or as a component of, any website that in the sole discretion of Wolfram|Alpha is determined to be obscene or otherwise inappropriate.

Here is what I think is reasonable pricing,

  • Up to 5000 requests – free
  • Up to 25,000 requests – $50
  • Up to 100,000 requests – $150
  • Up to 500,000 requests – $500
  • Additional request pricing – Below $2 per 1000 requests

So here is the one liner verdict – Wolfram Alpha API pricing sucks.

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