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Popular platform-as-a-service Heroku has updated its add-on marketplace with more features to help developers and cloud tool providers get more out of the service.

The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) sector of cloud is still relatively small but growing quickly. Four CEOs of PaaS companies just attended our CloudBeat 2012 conference last week and had a lively discussion on the future of PaaS. They agreed that it was only a matter of time before major enterprises would invest a lot of cash into PaaS. Heroku is one of the largest PaaS providers, so they are definitely worth keeping tabs on.

Heroku’s add-on marketplace launched three years ago with 12 add-ons. Since that time, 85 service providers have launched add-ons, attracting more than 4 million installs from developers. Companies offering add-ons include Amazon RDS, Cloudant, Loggly, New Relic, SendGrid, Xeround, and Zencoder.

“Three years ago we launched Heroku add-ons and created the concept of a marketplace for cloud services,” Heroku COO Oren Teich told us via email. “We envisioned a world where developers focus their efforts on their unique value and consume cloud services from third parties to build out common capabilities. This vision has become reality, with great examples including having Memcached, Redis, search, performance management, and so much more all available today as add-ons.”

The updated add-on marketplace claims to offer the following services:

• Self-service interface – Providers can create and manage their add-ons, features, benefits, and plans, allowing them greater flexibility for testing and marketing products. Services can be deployed, configured, and integrated into apps with one-click.

• Marketing best practices – New listing pages provide customization for each add-on including best practices on marketing and customer engagement. Templates are included for creating new documentation, embedding documentation into sales pages, easy plan comparisons, personalized branding and visibility into analytics and marketplace performance so that no dedicated team of marketing specialists is required.

• Complete billing services – The program takes care of all aspects of the billing process for users including failed payments, declined cards, fraud, and payment and bank transaction fees. This protects providers from financial risks associated with integrating with payment gateways, fraud, and failed, declined, or expired credit cards.

• Dedicated support – Heroku’s support team will provide dedicated developer support, saving providers time by handling integration issues for them. A dedicated sales team is also available to help sell the Heroku platform along with providers’ integrated services.

Heroku is owned by Salesforce, and more than 2.5 million apps are currently deployed on the service. A year ago it had just 200,000 apps on it. Heroku customers include Walmart, Macy’s, Activision Blizzard, and GroupMe.

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