Taobao has started to charge the api calls from 1st April 2016, it has been free for very long time, almost 4 to 5 years. OTC team has paid more than 2000RMB (350usd) to taobao from 1st to 20th April, now we have to let all the website owners to share this cost, otherwise we can't survive :-( Thanks for your understanding.
What is API
What is a api call?
It is one request to read information from taobao server. so when you customer opens one category page, it is one request. When they open one product page, it might consume 2 to 5 calls, because the product information has been divided into separate pieces.
Also we always encourage website owners to use cache server, so that the second time users visit will not take any api calls, this will save a lot of api calls.
How much does it cost?
The price to pay taobao is 5RMB per 10k api calls. since many websites owners are sharing the keys, we had to make a system to calculate the calls for every website.
So OTC team will need to keep paying for the server, database and bandwidth to run this system, that is why we charge 6.4RMB per 10k calls to make a bit of profit to cover this.
And if you buy 5 millions calls at one time, the cost per 10K calls is only 5.1RMB, Our profit is only 2%
Where can I check the api calls statistic?
Login to your account, you can see a button "View your API calls"