my friend craig was nice enough to respond in the comments section of my previous post on google base and i thought i’d repost his points to make sure they’re seen (why is it that rss doesnt include comments?). and btw, i hope everyone is starting to check out memeorandum which does a great job of aggregating conversation threads through links.
I wasn’t trying to make a value judgement on what Google is doing. I only wanted to note that they’ve crossed a line.
Up until this point, Google has take the role of the "pure" search engine (v. portal) and maintained a neutral stance with respect to the content in their index. I admired that they wanted to get users off their site as quickly as possible.
Now they will be in the business of generating content and competing with the publishers in their index. Not an evil thing to do, just very "portal-like".
To directly respond to a few of your open questions…
"arent you running a service that scrapes other classifieds sites but doesnt allow your own to be scraped?"
Nope. We are heavily crawled by google, yahoo, msn, etc.
"arent you competing with the sites that you are ‘indexing’?"
Nope. We’re not in the business of selling classified listings. Our aim is to focus on the needs of buyers who want to quickly see all the listings that are out there.
"isnt the hope for oodle that people will go to you first and then click on ads you sell while looking at classifieds from other sites."
Yes, we want to be the first stop for buyers. I think the classified experience for buyers stinks (which is why I started Oodle). If we can better serve buyers by making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, we in turn help sellers and those in the business of selling them advertising.
ok. craig sheds some light here but not sure why you’re still not directly answering my question about being crawled. no room for politicians on this blog! are you saying that *anyone* can crawl you, or that anyone you consider non-competitive can? you mention google, yahoo, msn. could i start a competing classifieds aggregator and crawl your site?
if you are saying that you dont want to allow a competing service crawl you and reuse what you consider to be your intellectual property, then i respect that decsions, however…then you must also respect craig newmark’s decision that your service is ultimately competitive so he wont allow crawling.
this is a very hard question. if oodle’s business is to crawl and normalize data and then resell it to newspapers, how could oodle let me crawl them and offer it free? however, it doesnt seem fair to crawl other people but then restrict it yourself. catch 22. i still say that anyone who crawls my data should allow themselves to be crawled too or lose that right.
does anyone know if google allows themselves to be crawled? if not, that would be the king of all injustices. and if not, i really dont see why craig newmark would want to allow google either if they are truly launching google base.