December 16, 2003
Here's a quick case study in the value of semantic markup: Froogle vs. Pricegrabber.
The still-in-beta Froogle applies Google’s bottom-up, ontology-free ethos to the world of retail, providing merchants and customers with a self-service shopping platform unencumbered by rigid data standards.
Pricegrabber, a more traditional comparison-shopping service, brings together merchants under contractual agreements, then aggregates data feeds by imposing a set of descriptive markup standards for each product category.
Take a look at the left-hand columns below, and you can see the difference a DTD makes:
With Froogle, merchants and users get what they pay for: which is to say, not much. But Pricegrabber flexes its market-making muscle to induce merchants to give up a level of autonomy in exchange for participating in a "coopetitive" marketplace.
This is a real-world example of shared commercial interest creating the incentive for adoption of a semantic framework. And it might be a short conceptual hop from here to the syllogistic value chain of the Semantic Web.
- Paul Ford, August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web
- Tim Bray, On Semantics and Markup
File under: Semantic Web_____________________
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