A lot of the discussion is about being in charge and owners of our data, the way it’s connected, and walled gardens: attention, identity, portability and distributed social networks (interoperability, your passport to the web, where you and your data can move around as a single identity like you to in real life).
There is also discussion of freeing data, I’m just not sure if a service will be open about you removing your content and taking it elsewhere. Is Facebook really going to let you remove all your photo’s and put them in Flickr…they don’t want to lose data or a user.
Maybe at the least a service could let you take a copy of your content so you can take it elsewhere.
In saying this there are a lot of RSS Readers and social bookmarks that let you import and export data.
The ethics of this is very interesting, whose data is it?
Think form the service point of view: you have used them for free and made lots of contacts, have a place to publish, and have got exposure for your content…and now that you are done using the service, you are going to take your content away and say thankyou for the good time, but I’m moving.
You have got so much out of using this service, and now you are leaving like nothing happened.
But this is not the only use case, sometimes you may want to export some data into another service, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Eventually we would like to export our friends or contacts from one service into another service we also use, it doesn’t mean we are dissing the first service, it just means I need to do some copy and pasting.
Think from the users point of view: this service has got my interests, profile, and content, and when aggregated with other users and content, it can leverage this to recommend other stuff to buy (in saying this, most services I use aren’t retail based).
They can also use this aggregation of users for statistics, slices of demographics, which others may want to buy for industry reports, etc…
The big thing is that if someones reason to visit my user space is to read my content, or someone surfing around is hooked on my content for a minute, then while they are engaged with my content, they may choose to click on an advertisement, making money for the service. If it wasn’t for my user space and content, firstly the ad would not be clicked, and secondly the ad would have no place to live anyway.
Some services are passionate about delivering a useful product (the creative art/science) side, but at the same time you have to make money.
It’s a trade-off: a service wants to make money and a user wants to fulfil a need, so the service brings them together. What I like about web 2.0 is that the user is not paying anything…everyone wins.
It’s kind of like saying I want to make money, I’ll do it by selling advertising.
OK now I need some web real estate to put these ads on, but how do I get people to visit my site so they can click on ads. Give them a personal reason to visit by hosting content for them.
If you get to build a community (or a following) then everyone is going to join, now you have the users clicking on ads ‘cause they spend a lot of time at this service (like a second home), that is time on their profile, but also time on their friends profiles…the more social, the more hooked, the more time you live at this site.
Plus, if a site is popular, you have visitors looking around and clicking on ads.
If the user paid rent for the hosting, then I think the user should make money off the advertising.
This is how I see the current model:
Someone wants to visit you, but you are staying/sleeping at your friends place, that is, your friend is hosting you.
So you get the visitor to go to your friends place, while there, they see something your friend has for sale and buy it.
Should you get a cut…if it wasn’t for you, they wouldn’t be there to have the opportunity to buy this item?
I don’t think so, as the intention for the visit wasn’t about merchandise, if so this comes close to referral commission.
If the friend asked the visitor to come over to see his friends item for sale, it may be a bit different, but still, this sort of thing doesn’t not involve money between friends.
But, in the web world you are not being hosted by your friend, it’s by a service that hosts lots of others to…so does this make the scenario different.
Your friend is not hosting you at their house with the intention of people visting the house because your staying there, and that the visitor might buy something for sale.
In the web world this is exactly the intention, the web service (host) wants you to rent a room for free, so people can visit your room to buy things that the service is selling, and so you yourself can visit other people’s rooms and buy things in their rooms.
The way it seems to work is that if no-one ever buys anything when they are in your room, but people always buy things when in another person’s room, then this popular person’s room will make enough for the service to cover the free hosting costs.
I do think it’s important to know your stats at these hosting services, ‘cause if you are popular enough, ie. lot’s of the traffic to the service is because of you, well then you can create your own site and make all the money yourself.
I’ve gone off on a tangent here, the initial intention of this post was should you be free to import/export your data (contacts, content, etc…) from one service into another?
What do you think, is the data you contribute yours to take away from the service?
Do you owe it to the service to have your data locked, or at least be able to take a copy?
You can delete it anyway, can’t you?
What if the service closes down, then will they build an export module?