Yahoo YBoss spell suggest API significantly increases pricing

For a year or two, we’ve been using the Yahoo/YBoss/YDN Spelling Service API to provide spell suggestions for queries in our homegrown discovery layer. (Which provides UI to search the catalog via Blacklight/Solr, as well as an article search powered by EBSCOHost api).

It worked… good enough, despite doing a lot of odd and wrong things. But mainly it was cheap. $0.10 per 1000 spell suggest queries, according to this cached price sheet from April 24 2105. 

However, I got an email today that they are ‘simplifying’ their pricing by charging for all “BOSS Search API” services at $1.80 per 1000 queries, starting June 1.

That’s 18x increase. Previously we paid about $170 a year for spell suggestions from Yahoo, peanuts, worth it even if it didn’t work perfectly. That’s 1.7 million querries for $170, pretty good.  (Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s still making queries it shouldn’t be, in response to something other than user input. For instance, we try to suppress spell check queries on paging through an existing result set, but perhaps don’t do it fully).

But 18x $170 is $3060.  That’s a pretty different value proposition.

Anyone know of any decent cheap spell suggest API’s? It looks like maybe Microsoft Bing has a poorly documented one.  Not sure.

Yeah, we could role our own in-house spell suggestion based on a local dictionary or corpus of some kind. aspell, or Solr’s built-in spell suggest service based on our catalog corpus.  But we don’t only use this for searching the catalog, and even for the catalog I previously found these API’s based on web searches provided better results than a local-corpus-based solution.  The local solutions seemed to false positive (provide a suggestion when the original query was ‘right’) and false negative (refrain from providing a suggestion when it was needed) more often than the web-based API’s. As well, of course, as being more work on us to set up and maintain.


5 thoughts on “Yahoo YBoss spell suggest API significantly increases pricing

  1. Hah, yes, much simpler for Yahoo. Sorry, I have no spell check suggestions.

  2. I received the same email today. I’ll be forced to roll out my own image search & crawler. No suggestion for productions spell check, thought.

  3. From what I found, Microsoft also treats all queries as Web searches, with the result being more-or-less the same as Yahoo’s new pricing. We also use (well, for now at least) Yahoo’s spelling suggestions, and I’m really not sure what to go and do now. 18X is /huge/.

  4. I don’t know of any such API. Yandex doesn’t offer that IIRC, and yes, BOSS and Azure have become similarly priced, with the gotcha that in Azure all the queries are prepaied, and so usage cost is rounded up. In the face of $3000 / year, it may be well worth to develope a symple custom spellchecker based on dictionary.

  5. I just stumbled on the price change today – never got an email. We’ve used BOSS for years and this leap (18x for news results too) makes BOSS totally unusable. We’ve put 100s of hours of work into integrating it and now with a few days of notice they have rendered it useless. I’d rather have the Google model of just pulling the plug with a year’s warning – this is highway robbery. We’re searching for alternatives too (for news results) – would love to hear any other options that people come up with.

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