'myware' but without the 'my'?

I have to agree with Steve Gillmor on this:

"All proprietary clouds of data obtained without the users' permission are tainted, and it's my bet (GestureBank) that given a choice between an open pool and any proprietary one, the open pool will implicitly be more trusted."

Not surprising that I would agree, I suppose. But why?

Well, as Kevin Burton of Tailrank points out the sp*ware companies are getting into the Attention act:

"Looks like Claria wants to enter the Memetracker (or customized home page) market by shipping a browser based toolbar."

So here's the thing. In this discussion with Kevin we both concluded that the ability to 'own' (manage, edit, purge, delete, share, not share, etc) *your* attention data is the right way to go (well, we've agreed on this ages ago, but we agreed again...).

On a parallel track, the observation Kevin makes of Findory is a good one - the 'implicit' nature of *some* what's going on. Findory's recommendations algorithms are very good indeed. But, from my perspective, it is has a great starting point: a subset of my attention data - my OPML file. From there it uses my clicktrack behavior on the Findory site to recommend content to me. A very rich pool of content - I've already told it what interests me via the OPML file I pointed it to. To stress - in the case of Findory the clicktrack recording is limited to my behavior on Findory. That's it. And that's ok. (Findory's developer Greg Linden might point out at this stage that the OPML file is not necessary to provide a very relevant experience  - just a few clicks in one of the pre-defined channel such as 'technology' would do it. I'd believe him too - he's the guy who built Amazon's recommendation engine that's made the company a gazzillion dollars. My point here though is that it is my OPML - the people I want to read - are my uber-smart attention filters. They write about and point to the stuff I'm really, really interested in and Findory acts as another layer of value on top of that.)

Claria's proposition is that it'll track you everywhere - 'myware' but without the 'my'.  Can you edit the data it tracks? Can you export it? Can you expose it to another service and treat the data it collects as your data? Is it your data? Nope, nope, nope, nope and er, nope. Sounds great doesn't it?! Install software that tracks your everyclick so marketers can spam you! Lovely! Sign me up!! Not.

This is where the Attention recorders come in (as Jon Galloway pointed out in the comments to my related post). This is where Steve is coming from. There are others thinking this way too. The questions I have are:

  • which of the Attention recorders will play an open Attention data game?
  • by open I mean - which attention recorders will allow the users' data to be edited, viewed, shared, purged, exported and controlled - fully - by the user?
  • and which of these recorders will act as a service that others services (or people) can connect to (or locked out) with the user's permission?
  • and...which developers of the newstrackers, aggregators, attention engines and raft of other services that would benefit in accessing that data with the user's permission will be smart enough to see the opportunity here by allowing the third party, *trusted* recorder-provisioned, user-controlled attention data pools to plug in?

I've still not got the GestureBank invite. But from everything Steve has written about his idea it looks like its going to set the standard in the open myware / mydata / attention data / recorder / connector scene.


Tags: Attention, mydata, myware, OPML, web, tech, web 2.0