October 26, 2005

Is "scraping" the new spam?

Of course, we approve of deep-linking, or remixing and repurposing other people's data and content. That's the remix culture of web 2.0. :-)

But there's a real cost when scrapers become a burden on the sites providing the data.

Intuitively it seems to me that this active consumption of Craiglist's resources by Oodle makes this a different case from the current Google vs. the publishers fracass.

Google has a negative externality on publishers. By providing the same information that's in the books it reduces their sales. However, it's doing this without placing any active burden on the publishers.

The conflict between Google and the publishers is between business models. Whereas publishers still have a business model which involves restricting information (to those who've bought the book), Google's is based on the refusal of intellectual property rights to sell more service.

In the Oodle vs. Craiglist case, Craiglist doesn't seem to be "ostensibly" complaining about lost sales but about the actual use of it's computer time and energy (a genuinely scarce resource). Here one business model is simply parasitic on the ongoing work of another agent.

Will be interesting to watch how people feel about each of these cases. Which business models will get valorized? Which rejected?

Update : follow on article
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