Programmable Web continues to rock


If you are interested in how mashups are shaking up the web world, or interested in mashing up your own content, John Musser’s Programmable Web is the best place to start.    This is a  very well-designed website with enormous content depth.   John’s listed thousands of mashups and APIs and categorized them in helpful ways.

Mashups are reshaping the internet in very interesting and dynamic ways and will continue to do this for some time.    For me it’s interesting to see the model of the early internet kind of “swing back” and again be characterized by information sharing rather than the “closed walls” that came about when big money started to flow into the system.  However this poses a challenge for new companies based on mashed up content because ownership of the content that results from a mashup is not always easy to define.   At Mashup Camp 2 I remember talking with Venture Capitalist Peter Rip who at that time felt that mashups *of themselves* were not the key value proposition, rather how the mashup might enhance the prospects of an existing company.   I’m still digesting his notion because it may lie at the heart of how most websites will shake out in the future.

As a user I’m inclined to want an internet that is free or very cheap, very open, very rich with content, and has few restrictions on the use or mashing up of content.   However as a travel website entrepreneur I don’t relish the thought of creating a great site only to have it’s content and ideas nabbed without any compensation.

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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5 Responses to Programmable Web continues to rock

  1. FoolsGold says:

    “As a user I want an internet that is free, very open, very rich with content, and has few restrictions on the use or mashing of content…However as an entrepreneur I don’t relish creating a great site only to have it’s content and ideas nabbed without any compensation.”

    I guess such nabbing could be by theft or by someone else being very artful with search engine spamdexing of their site and its nabbed contents, but you might not consider it nabbing if their mashing of your content actually added some sort of value to the structure of your content.

    Consider the “copyright” rubric “The purpose of a copyright is to ultimately enhance the public domain by providing a monopoly for a brief period of time”. This ultimate purpose is debased by attempts to extend copyrights for massive time periods but the copyright holders who are charging the royalties are not going to remind us of that.

    Content is good, but it can be stolen. If someone takes your travel site content and sends it to someone selected as a result of clever data mining and AI algorithms are they “white hat nabbers” but if they send your site’s content via a more simple mashup are they ‘black hat nabbers’? Re-arranging data into zip code or alphabetical order would hardly be much of a mashup, re-arranging data based on recent streams of feeds from esoteric sites might be ‘value added’ marketing but you are still the one who has originated the value and want payment for it.

    I don’t really see much of a way of locking away data. I’ve heard of a ‘no spiders tag’ to prevent indexing but I don’t think there is a ‘no mashups’ tag and certainly no way to enforce it.

    Consider the Peer Review journals who now want to charge for their content so as to support their “expenses”. Suddenly they have to look critically at those expenses and proprietary rights and really see that perhaps their much ballyhooed publishing efforts really are not worth all that much in the market place!

    If “there is nothing cheaper than quality” perhaps the only way a website entrepreneur can profit is by having his piece of the pie be profitable simply because the entire pie is profitable.

  2. JoeDuck says:

    “The purpose of a copyright is to ultimately enhance the public domain by providing a monopoly for a brief period of time”

    This makes sense and as you note copyright was not intended to “lock up” resources for the long haul. But now even short term lockups are frowned on because they tend to inhibit the fast and free flow of online info.

    I think if we take all interests into account and place the public interest first we’ll have a system where info flows very freely and copyright is *only* applicable when you can show that another clearly profited or ruined your ability to profit from your innovation. ie I should NOT be able to sell or distribute copies of a movie or a software program but I should be able to mashup existing web content, copy music from the radio for personal use, etc.

    I think this rule system is actually coming into play now even though the laws still reflect old media issues that don’t apply well to the modern experience.

  3. Mitesh Rami says:

    ProgrammableWeb – a nice and intresting website..

    Thanks for the link

    Definately Mashups is reshaping the internet and will continue to do this for some time due to its dynamic ability. Its free and rich with content and has few restrictions on its use. Making it a great bid.

    It will surely do well in coming days

    Thanks once again

  4. FoolsGold says:

    Consider a Mashup Subroutine that takes a news feed from a site or two and also takes music from another site that The Mashup Program considers to be uniquely relevant and then the MashupSite offers the new “value added” material of a newscast set to appropriate music. This value added stream is something that must be created and utilized in what is essentially real time rather than after some attempt to obtain licensing permissions of some sort.

    Any such ‘value added stream’ depends on a free and open access to site contents. The problems seems to be that the ‘idea’ of what mashup is to be performed and how to perform it is an idea that will exist only if it can be profitable to sell a ‘Mashed up newsfeed accompanied by music’ yet the news sites and music sites may not only say ‘that is our intellectual property’ but might also think ‘why don’t we steal that Mashup idea and market that enhanced content ourselves’.

    The use of strong intellectual property laws can constrain innovation to a few major players.

  5. JoeDuck says:

    Great example FG. In fact at Mashup Camp 1 the winner “PodBop” had some of these copyright challenges by using music clips and I’m not sure they were resolved in a way that would allow them to become a viable company. It’s very interesting to me that “value” now often comes in the guise of “better organization” of the same old stuff.

    That has always been a business proposition to some extent, but I think we’ll see bigger and bigger businesses based on “organization of information”. Google comes to mind.

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