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July 28, 2005


Michal Migurski

I understand (and even drink a little kool-aid), but I don't get how this is not a pyramid scheme. The Bob & Kevin examples you describe are just product endorsements, the same thing Nike or Pepsi do all the time. How does this idea filter down to regular people, given that at some point, Trojan is going to need some coin for their rubbers? Attention.xml remains a chimera for the foreseeable future. The kinds of companies to whom this concept will be useful will *not* be brick & mortar, because those firms will still need money & resources to make products. Instead, I imagine that this will be useful to attention brokers, who aggregate attention over large groups of people to gather marketing data.

peter caputa

Good point, Mike!

I am just thinking outloud in response. But here are some possible benefits to us:

1. Better targeting of ads. Instead of targeting ads contextually to the content we are reading, ads can be targeted with fancier algorithms that take into account what we looked at yesterday and last year + what we're looking at + what other information we give up. Why? Cause we have all that data and we can share it with whomever we want. Contrast that to now, when yahoo has a little data, google has a bit, msn has some, ad networks have a little more, blogging tools have some, del.icio.us has some, etc, etc.

2. Middle men will still exist. They'll just be everywhere. And the barrier to being a new middle man isn't the SIZE of the middle man. They aren't just people that make sitcoms and print newspapers, deliver ads+search or write weblogs. They'll be all kinds of stuff. Yahoo's new Konfabulator widgets could be an attention aggregator. They'll be all kinds of new services. And if those services can leverage all the attention data that we've accumulated from now until then, they'll be able to start adding value as soon as their launched. Similarly, the faster you create "attention data", the more value you can add to the system. And the more value you'll be worth.

What this effectively does, in my thinking-outloudedness, is lower the barrier to entry for new creations, new players because they can leverage our past attention.

It won't wipe out the Long Tail. Or give you as much Trojan buying power as Kevin Federline. But, it'll get you closer.

Craig W Barnes

We eat, sleep, and breathe attenttoin data - or what we call "attention streams" - and the benefits to users will go well beyond better more targeted advertising. We are utilizing attention stream data now (a lightweight transient superset of what attention.xml is all about) and at the end of the day users will automatically get fewer, more relevant and re-prioritized articles (not feeds, ARTICLES) We chatted with Seth today and we support attentiontrust wholeheartedly.

Jenn M.

The piece that always gets me about Amazon etc. is that once I've bought whatever item I'm searching for, these guys continue to badger me with "If you liked that, you'll like this!" If I'd bought a gift for a friend's baby shower and never intend to be near children again, I still always get that cute little rattle on my The Page You Created ad infinitum.

The piece that the Attention people haven't addressed is the finite nature of searches and interests. I may be searching for a vacation for my 10th anniversary, but by my 11th, I'll be very tired of seeing yet another cruise that I have no intention of taking.

I'm looking for an Un-Attention button, to tell people that I really have absolutely no interest in what I was just looking for.

Peter Caputa

Good point, Jenn. I am sure that someday, we'll have an unattention button or no thanks button.

Wouldn't be a great world, if consumers actually clicked on an ad and said I am not interested in that?

Imagine the targeting we could do then.


About this I think the difference between “Attention” and “Privacy” is the idea that “Attention” is a commodity. It is something you can sell, trade, buy, etc.. “Privacy,” on the other hand, is a right or, at the very least, cannot be sold.

I think this is an important distinction and I agree with Josh that the “Attention Economy” is a place where users need to exercise more control. Companies have been buying and selling our attention with no benefit or compensation to the user. To the contrary, we users often suffer when their attention is sold in the form of unsolicited telemarketing calls, spam, etc.

Peter Caputa

Very well said, Tood. Very succinct and on point. Agree totally.


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