Friday, August 1, 2008

A discussion about APML and Web 2.0

Original post date: 11/8/07
This comment discussion (I hate blog comments - they should be redirected to forums) followed this article about APML, another Ring forged in the mountain of Mordor.

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2007-10-22 19:20:08
Great post Mark.

At Cluztr, we've been supporting APML created from each users clickstream - which they control and manage. We've gotten great feedback so far the output is an increasingly accurate picture of one's interests.

Amazon, Google and all kinds of other services have been leveraging this kind of attention profiling for years. It's about the time the user can start using it for their own benefit.

Privacy issues are marginal compared to the benefits and potential uses of APML.

Besides, the kids today don't care about privacy.

2007-10-26 08:49:09
jonnyajax, allow me to rephrase your comment to a different concept

...Besides, with treatment options as advanced as they are, kids today don't care about having safe sex either, but that doesn't mean AIDS has gone away.

Privacy issues are never a marginal issue, and thank you for alerting me to your company's practices in regards to clickstreams and your attitude about your user's privacy. I will be sure *not* to use cluztr from this point on.

One does not need to reveal anything about one's self to utilize the concept of an APML construct. Sorting and ranking of interests is a basic psychological construct, and it's something that we do *internally*. I don't need to tell a web service *all* of my interests to tell them what I'm interested in getting from them. There's no need for portability with a concept that never moves from where it belongs - with me, on my computer, in my head.

We don't announce *all* of our interests to the outside world when engaging with a particular person about a particular topic. NOT collecting information about pron tells me just as much about you as actually doing it (and in some ways, more - either you are a sexually repressed neurotic robot or you're blatantly lying and using another browser to look at pron).

It is *not* as simple as turning your tag cloud from delicious into something portable, because not all tags are created equal. Sorting and ranking is a highly complex internal judgment process that compares N^N concepts to each other.

APML is yet another attempt to create the One-Ring-to-Rule-Them-All (like OpenID). You don't need One Ring, you need Many-Specific-and-Appropriate Rings. But most importantly, you need an application that *MANAGES* all of those rings, and nobody else needs to see what you do within that application, and that application doesn't need to reside anywhere except on your desktop computer of choice. Outside services just need to given the appropriate Ring (let's be cute and call it a Friendship Ring), not my entire collection of Rings.

The whole point of the hypertext and the internet is that information is distributed, so why do all of these companies keep trying to consolidate everything?

The death of Web 2.0 will be when people realize that they don't need to do everything publicly and blatantly to get what they want, and you don't need a company that drops the "e" in -er to do it.

2007-10-31 11:22:05
You're obviously very pasionate about your privacy, as are others who use social apps, but not everyone.

The explosive popularity of online services like, iLike and Pandora have shown that people are more willing than ever to give up aspects of their privacy in exchange for the benefits of social networking and discovery.

To explain my statement that "privacy issues are marginal ..." was with the assumption that whatever social service has the appropriate privacy features in place for their users, whether the user chooses to leverage the option or not.

re: "thank you alerting me to your company's practices in regards to clickstreams and your attitude about your user's privacy."
I suggest you read our Privacy Policy and TOS. Cluztr follows the guidelines set out by, giving users full control, ownership and transparency in all aspects of how their data is handled.

My personaly attitude about a user's privacy is that it is inherent to the user in question, therefore, we provide numerous privacy features to accomodate everyone.

2007-10-31 22:18:44
I think the popularity of *all* present social networking sites is merely because *there has not been any kind of personal alternative of ANY kind*

You don't need to give up ANY of your privacy rights in ANY way to gain the benefits of social networking, and I'm personally (especially on the eve of Google's announcement of OpenSocial) completely flummuxed as to why nobody understands this.

I don't need to upload my address books to others' websites to network - my address book IS the network. All giving up any information to any site does is empower the company to make money from my information, when the real person who should be making money from my information is ME, the end user.

It's impossible for a social networking site to provide privacy practices because it is INHERENTLY IMPOSSIBLE for them to do it because the very premise of social networking sites as they are imagined in the current day is PUBLIC.

WHERE are the private desktop versions of all of this web 2.0 crap? Nowhere, because the plethora of beta-driven websites on steroids couldn't survive on a desktop, and most of all, they can't find a way to monetize it.
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