I am just one developer and I do not have the time/money/resources to maintain an industrial grade public data source. If it is determined for any reason that you are not using the API in the capacity and terms indicated, your IP will be banned with a quickness.
I will shortly implement a private key system. Those interested in using the API now should monitor this post for the announcement of the process to get a key. There will be a 1 week grace period once the key system is in place for you to get a key. After which non-keyed requests will be denied and abusive IPs will be banned.
When and if a need for more resources and a way to finance it presents itself this policy will be reconsidered.
If you would like to help mitigate hosting costs and possibly upgrade the hosting plan for faster response and perhaps a more open API, means to do so at no cost present themselves to you on every page of the site. ;-)
term is an email address or a full or partial display name.
"site_name": "Stack Overflow",
"display_name": "Cale Gibbard",
Results are limited to the first 50 matches. There is no paging. If you cannot find what you are looking for in 50 responses, be more specific.
How It Works:
If the incoming term is an email address, all of the users with either matching
association_id are returned. This will catch the case of a user that registers on multiple sites with different email addresses. (not sure if this is a valid case, i would have to check with jeff but it is covered anyway)
If the incoming term is not an email address, a simple
if(DisplayName.Contains(term)) is performed.
This route is provided as a service to developers of applications and websites that would like to streamline the user lookup/identification process.
Again, this route is meant to be used for interactive processes as a means for your application to identify a user in response to an interaction with your end user.
You are encouraged to persist the results of a successful match.
You should not treat this, or any StackUsers endpoint, as a bulk data store. You may build your own data store from the Stack Exchange API.
If you have any questions about these terms please email firstname.lastname@example.org.