Wait, so Joel is reinventing and advertising as new the very thing that various people have been trying to make work for as long as Internet exists.

And not a single mention on the reason it hasn't worked to date: it literally goes against business interest of every company on-line.

It'll be fun to see where this goes.

@temporal another take on semantic web, maybe this one will take off

maybe the usual™ will happen


@phoe I mean, I would love the semantic web to take off. I just don't see it happening.

The core question, one which the linked article, as well as the project page, refuse to even ask - much less answer - is still the same: why would any business want to give up control like that? Make it easier to access the data without being monetized?

Nah. And seeing Joel, of all people, involved in this, makes me worried they have some weird business model in mind, that will come back to bite us all in the ass.

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@temporal he already mentions the term "blocks", that's just one chain away fro---

oh god oh fuck no no no NOOOOO

@temporal @phoe In a society with many web shop retailers it would be beneficial for producers to publish specs as #linkeddata so their products are easy to find with good specs.

Same for offered services by companies.

Same for hobby research if you want to cooperate.

The arguments against the #semanticweb are mostly excuses for not using it, rather than tangible reasons. "It did not take off yet."

We use it in our subdomains and it works great.


But your first example is kind of my point: it is *not* beneficial for retailers to do that, and that's why they fight it tooth and nail.

Retailers *do not* want to make it easy for you to browse their products in any way other than through their storefront. They *especially* do not want you to compare products between stores, or even within stores (producers don't want you to do the latter either).

Also, retailers don't want competing retailers to automate product/price mapping.


@temporal @phoe Correction. *big retailers* do not. Big Retailers are often not producers or at least sell products from other producers.

When I want to buy a new drill locally, it's hard to *find* a shop that sells one for my needs. The site often does not contain the details of the product. If the specs were published as Linked Data it'd be trivial to show them on the site

Similar for large retailers btw. The specs are often wrong and technically the product must match the specs.

@temporal @phoe I believe there is a huge knowledge gap. I strongly doubt linked data technologies are sufficiently broadly known.

Big retailers already get specific builds with different model numbers against comparison. They still benefit from having the right specs on their site, even if not searchable.

Producers often already share specs and manuals of their products. It's not a big leap. You can find that.

We haven't shown enough people it can work. And it can work.


Retailers and producers both try to walk the fine line of having specs and listings available in the literal sense, but in a way that makes it hard for a regular customer to make an informed choice.

That's why the specs are inconsistent between product classes, often even within the same brand. That's why they're not searchable, and stores don't offer tools to compare products side by side.

Of course it *can* work. My point is that business users mostly *don't want* it to work.



The whole space is adversarial to an extreme degree.

You mention model numbers - proliferation of SKUs is indeed a way of defeating consumer research.

Retailers also fight other retailers and various third parties, making it hard to get catalogs and price info in an automated way. They put a lot of work into defeating scrapping and bots.

If they had any reason to publish their catalog in a machine-readable format, they'd have done so already. You don't need SemWeb or Blocks for it.


@temporal @phoe That might be incompetence too.

I don't know how it is in other locations, but when I want to buy hardware through a local hardware store, they almost always send me to the site of the producer(s) saying "tell me what you need and I can give you the price" or "it's the price on that site" or even "it's the advised price +x%".

These people don't show the information on their site because it's a manual effort, not because of some desire not to show it.

@temporal @phoe I also believe a lot is going on to keep us from visiting local shops. I doubt manufacturers are into 'the scheme'. It is not in their best interest.

Another thing I really wonder about is whether people elsewhere have an open communication channel with local resellers. If others know how local shops in their area behave and get by.

From what I see here, if it were just importing products, local resellers would list them on their sites. The manual effort is just too high.

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