The distributed marketplace

The distributed marketplace
: Clay Shirky rightfully and ruthlessly ridicules a “deeply crazy attempt to solve dating” called Socialgrid: You answer a questionnaire, which spits out code (XML/FOAF) you put on your blog so others can find you via Google. This execution is, well, cause of execution.

But there’s something bigger (and for some of us in some businesses, scarier) bubbling up here: The distributed marketplace. Forget sex (for the moment). Think jobs: Employers find employees via Google. Or think the distributed eBay: Who in the world is selling a used iPod or Mustang right now? Or real estate: The distributed roommate finder. Or Yellow Pages: The Google dream of local. Whenever one person wants to find another for a transaction of any sort, can the distributed network bring them together?

I don’t think Socialgrid — or Google — will own this ultimately. Other, more specialized efforts will create their own search engines or, like this one, piggyback on top of Google’s data base. And they will add value (anonymization; bidding for services; communication; content).

All of this is an extension of FOAF and of David Galbraith’s one-line bio and I’ve talked about it before; so have many others (who should take a look at the haughty intellectual property warning Clay quotes).

This is a step (or misstep) in a fundamental shift in society:

Bit by bit, marketplaces will decentralize.