So Mike Arrington’s startup (along with Keith Teare, formerly of RealName) has been leaked and reported on by Rob Hof. I had some inside dope on that, but was sworn to secrecy. It looks like we are going to see an insidious dribble campaign over the next few weeks, leading up to the planned end of Feb launch.
Here’s what Rob says:
[from Edgeio Edges Toward Launch—and a Clash with E-Commerce Giants? by Rob Hof]
Edgeio is doing just what its tagline says: gathering “listings from the edge”—classified-ad listings in blogs, and even online product content in newspapers and Web stores, and creating a new metasite that organizes those items for potential buyers.
The way Edgeio works is that bloggers would post items they want to sell right on their blogs, tagging them with the word “listing” (and eventually other descriptive tags). Then, Edgeio will pluck them as it constantly crawls millions of blogs looking for the “listing” tag and index them on Edgeio.com.
Also, Edgeio sends a trackback to the blog, providing a way for the blogger to go to Edgeio and modify the listing, adding other tags such as “autos” and other data that will further help the listing appeal to potential buyers.
Buyers get some interesting tools on Edgeio, too. You can search by geography, naturally. In fact, there’s a cool slider that lets you zero in on a particular city. If there aren’t enough listings, you can move the slider to a wider geographic area. Buyers also can filter listings by tag and see information on the blogger or publisher of the listing. Ultimately, buyers—if they choose to register as Edgeio members—can contact the seller directly by email.
Ad listing in blogs? Who does that? Today, almost nobody. And that’s why this idea could work at all: Teare said the tag “listing” is found only about 10 times a day on millions of blogs, so it’s an ideal, clean tag with which to create a unique index of “listings from the edge.”
Edgeio also plans a reputation system.
Wild. So this is the realization of the microformats/structured blogging idea: people can create posts, indicate — by a tag, or other microformat gesture — that the post includes a classified listing, and a service like Edgeio can scoop up that information and place it in a directory.
For example, I could tag a post with these markers — “Reston+VA+20194” “Edgeio” “Listing” “Leather+Couch” “$500+or+best+offer” — and an Edgeio-like system could do what you might expect with that metadata. [Note: I have not had a demo of Edgeio, specifically, yet, so this may not be the exact way that it works.]
Buyers could shop through these tags, and following the trackbacks to the original posts, although Edgeio obviously wants to control the sale, which is actually easier for all parties anyway.
So, a sweet idea, and one that should further erode the classified ads revenue stream for newspapers everywhere. The real competition is for Web 1.0 contraptions like eBay and Craig’s List. The newspapers have already lost, and just keep on doing the same old nonsense, like a chicken’s body running around the barnyard after the head has been cut off. Edgeio is just going to accelerate that death.