Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tag Value

I started rambling in my last post about the value of Tags and their relative status in the social network pecking order and realized that it probably deserved its own post if I was ever going to find these thought again in the future.

From my success publishing my delicious links though this blog, I feel like I might actually 'get' the Y! / Delicious news. There are several levels to these social networks that all center around open information and how its handled.

Blogging is actually a fairly high-touch activity -- you've got to sit, write, link, and maybe even review spelling, logic and rhetoric.

Link tracking is about the least you can do to express preference, relevence, classification. But in aggregate its still a fantastic way to establish preference networks, and relative network quality valuation.

I am aware that things that I tag are way down the pecking order compared with things that I actually digest and discuss. But its good to have the list handy (which delicious was doing for me), and to extend this to anyone who happens to read this post (which I think is just me -- but you never know).

I'm also a metric head, and it is pretty obvious that there is enourmous value in the information behind these simple little tags. The value is not in the individual tag, but in how various tags are clustered for different types of people; how tags proliferate and penetrate various segments.

There is enough information here to build a nice recursive analytic environment where both content and attention gain qualitative attributes from one another -- and this value grows exponentially with the size of the network.

I've talked a little bit about the challenges in scaling peer-based media beyond blogger niches... and the most complelling example of how to tie media together into useful packages for individual tastes is still Y! LaunchCast, which builds individual playlist based on user classifications.

LaunchCast works. It works in large part because of scale. Digesting individual input on a finite information base can generate decent aggregations for individuals. This can extend an individual's network to include high-value elements of virtual peer networks.

When I step back, its pretty clear that the value that could be generated by scaling link-pooling as much as possible. Establishing these networks will be critical to delivering relevent content in a micromedia market.

It works in radio, is needed in peer-publishing, will be necessary for micro-video to ever get off the ground.

I think that Y! is way ahead on this. It will be interesting to see if these dynamics ever take over the media marketplace. If they do, Y! will be king.

So I'll ask the question that everyone seems to be asking indirectly... What will Y! want to buy next? and can I build it in 9-12 months?


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