Friday, November 17, 2006

RSS, web 2.0 and reputation systems

Years ago in 1996 I was involved in a project to create a newspaper and magazine alert service. The subscriber handed in you personal interest file with key words, while the publishers forwarded their XML tagged publications and the service would deliver the news items fitting the profile to the subscriber the next morning. The service was intended for the manager; it would suit him like the blanket of Linus in the comic series Snoopy. The manager could go out to his clients the next morning knowing what had happened to company, if they were in the news, or to the industry. My company wrote the business for this project, but the proposal came too early as copyright issues still had to be sorted out and the Dutch newspaper publishers had other priorities, anyway. These days they have a derivative of this service such as CLIP, which could greatly be improved and more marketing oriented.

This morning I was with a company which is using RSS technology and has built a number of products around it which not only push the news but also has many Web 2.0 features. So you have an RSS feed, but it will also present you with the most popular stories in the RSS feed, read by other RSS readers. It is like the Amazon recommendation system. Compared to the system we were proposing in 1996, this system is more intelligent and can be used in a social network.

The company Infocaster is a company existing of a group of young guys. They are presently selling their applications and their ideas. They have some applications which work well in the Dutch press world and have recently picked up an assignment from a tire company, which will distribute an RSS feed application throughout the company, mixing public news with company news. As the application is not depending on language, items in various languages can be mixed, but Cyrillic and Chinese might pose a temporary problem.

We thought aloud about a project using Infocaster for a community of interest, putting up a list of sources, having the latest articles passing by, being recommended by the members of the community. Even sources can be added publicly or personally. Instead of being an editor or abstracter of a newsletter, you only have to put in the sources and have people select their own sources and have them tell you what other sources they look at. This proposal looks simple, but it is not. For publishers still have a brand mentality. They think that readers go for the brand of the Guardian or the Washington Post; this is not true. People want to know what they have to know regardless what brand or publication. Sure you need reliable publications; but that is where the reputation system comes in. If you trust your network, you will also trust their recommendations. In fact there is a network of intelligence out there with people, who are all managing their personal knowledge systems. With the reputation mechanism this delivers a real knowledge system. The potential project could be interesting for business groups and researchers. This talk sparked some new ideas.

In the meantime I have been convinced that this blog should have an RSS feed and I will start using a RSS feed myself. It should shorten the time which I spend every morning culling the national and international news sources and improve my general survey.

Tags: RSS, Web 2.0, recommendation system, , ,

Blog Posting Number: 573

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