Friday, September 7, 2007

Trapping users' data

From the good idea, but gotta-wonder department:

We think it’s time for socially-enabled web sites to stop competing over who can build a higher wall to trap their users' data.
This from the folks that bring us the open social web bill of rights.

(1) Duh. Of course this is better for consumers and better for the social web. My virtual world is tied up in Linkedin, Facebook, Plaxo, Technorati and a million other places. Each of these locations tries to connect me with other people I know. Far better if they all connect with one another seamlessly behind the scenes.

(2) What is the economic model? For profit technology firms are driven by investors looking for very high returns on investment or by corporations looking for high revenue plays. This goes back to the concept of does a company care about the size of their slice of the pie or the entire size of the pie?

A totally open social web creates a very big pie where all actors compete equally for user attention (and from there revenue). What corporation in their right mind is in favor of low barriers to entry in their market? The lower the barriers the lower the profits.

The angle that gets me jazzed is that many small actors, facing high barriers to entry, really do have an opportunity to create an open social web. Facebook might have already cracked the door.

Facebook is now a platform of social applications. Think of it as a private network... they control the cables, switches and routers. Open standards comes along. No one controls the network and you can create a virtual private network. More importantly the virtual private networks all follow the same basic rules.

It will be interesting to see this play out over the next few years.

1 comment:

Edward Vielmetti said...

Perhaps the applications trap some data, but that doesn't mean they really trap your friends, contacts, colleagues etc.

The social network (excuse me, "social utility" sites) should be more afraid of people bypassing them and actually connecting to each other in person in ways that don't leave a monetizable digital trail.