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just stumbled across consumerpedia (via david weinberger), a new site (only a dozen registrations so far) trying to combine wikipedia-like “the-community-administers-everything” behaviour, a slashdot-like rating system and a google-like frontpage with the business model of epinion and its million replicas (e.g. in germany). see the review of my notebook i’ve created to try consumerpedia.

consumerpedia seems to be a blatant attempt to quickly create content that will rank well in search engines to produce clicks on high-value PPC-keywords with google’s adsense program. so far, so legitimate. the interesting point is that its makers unlike the epinions of this world decided to hand power over categorisation to their users.

although i wouldn’t use a hierarchical navigation model if i were to create a folksonomy this is still an interesting experiment: no one to my knowledge has ever dared to let users categorise data in a such a competitive (=commercial) environment.

yahoo has set the standard of hierarchical content classification on the web more than ten years ago, meanwhile a huge staff of editors reviews categories and listings (and submissions now cost a fortune). also (afaik) all product review sites depend on in-staff-classification. seven years ago a model of user-driven content classification was launched: the open directory project. tens of thousands unpaid editors constantly classify listings and create new categories. the ODP database today is used by thousands of sites, among them google directory. this however only works (with quality varying) due to a sophisticated system of editor permissions, supervision and a tough application process for new editors and listings.

clay shirky once said: “one of my colloquial definitions for social software is stuff that gets spammed“. but hey, nobody would have thought that wikipedia would work and it does, so good luck consumerpedians!


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