Of the many Web 2.0 startups, Edgeio is my new favorite. With their site having just launched to the public last week, I was able to have a closer look, and I really think these guys (including the brilliant Mike Arrington of TechCrunch fame) are on to something big. It’s a distributed version of eBay or craigslist, but I imagine it’ll be much more than that. Their tagline is “listings from the edge”. The concept is disarmingly simple: webmasters and bloggers could use a simple method of tagging a classified listing posted directly on their website or blog, and Edgeio’s engine will identify the listing and display it on their own site or others. They’ve started out with classified ads, and initially the ad would be identified on blogs by having the word “listing” displayed with it. Edgeio also sends a trackback link to the blog, so that the blogger can go to Edgeio and modify the listing, adding other keyword tags such as “lawn mowers” and other data that will further help the listing appeal to potential buyers. This idea of allowing classified listings to be syndicated directly from users’ websites is killer, and is very “Web 2.0”: it works in social tagging, RSS, and consumer-generated content. By leveraging the interconnectedness of documents, of humans, and of the Internet itself, the potential for “listings on the edge” seems almost limitless. For example, imagine owners of blogs and personal web sites tagging their sites with information corresponding to their LinkedIn account and then allowing shoppers to surf for a digital camera to buy, not from the Great Unwashed, but from someone they feel more comfortable trusting, i.e. sellers within their LinkedIn network plus a couple degrees. I could go on with more ideas but I’ll wait for Edgeio to contact me personally asking for ’em. 😉 I imagine that Edgeio will have some early issues to deal with, such as: having enough bandwidth to handle traffic bursts, expanding/formalizing their tags early to try to keep from adding junk/non-listing content into their directory, and keeping the massive amounts of spam out of their indices (something that services like Technorati are struggling with). But, this is the sort of simple, basic idea that has potential to grow very fast among the blogging community initially. If they are successful with bloggers, I imagine they’d be able to easily expand out to encompass general sites as well. That’s when things get really interesting. Go, Edgeio!
I like Edgeio too. However, I’m not sure about your digital camera example. Personally, I think I would trust an eBay merchant with “Feedback 99% Positive” (after 1,000+ ratings) more than a LinkedIn network plus a couple degrees.
Stephan Spencer says
Point taken. However, in thinking about this more, for me it’s not about trust as much as the fact that I’d ENJOY buying stuff from friends or from friends-of-friends more than I would from some random eBay Power Seller.
As an aside, it’s a real shame that eBay doesn’t allow Feedback percentages to be available for use more generally on the Web, like through an API. That would make the Feedback ratings so much more valuable. “Information wants to be free.” Someone should tell that to Meg. 😉