There's a lot of crap on the Web, but every now and then you read something that is just eery -- almost like you wrote it yourself. Well, since I have been doing a lot of thinking about virtuous profiling, implicit distributed social networks, and behavioral-driven social search, I had that experience when I read Alex Iskold's post The Implicit Web. Props to Mike Dierken for pointing it out to me. Some excerpts:
The basic concept of the Implicit Web is simple. As we touch information, we vote. When we come across an article we like, we spend time reading. When we like a movie, we recommend it to our friends and family. And if a piece of music resonates with us, we listen to it over and over again. We do this automatically, subconsciously or implicitly. But the consequences of our behavior are important. The things that we are paying attention to have great value to us, because we like them.
The Implicit Web is powered by clicks. Our gestures and actions reveal our intent and reactions.
The Implicit Web is already here and is being actively used by many companies. Yet, consumers are not aware of it - at lest not explicitly. And that is not a good thing. The Implicit Web and its close cousin Attention Economy are big and important concepts; and they are still in their infancies.
He goes on to give some examples, such as the Last.FM music service, Amazon's book recommendations, etc. I agree that we will see more of the Implicit Web, and in my opinion the following is essential to the success of Implicit Web initiatives:
Profiling -- it's all about *appropriate* and accurate profiling of behavior and intent, which can be scary to people.
User Value -- you have to directly and transparently couple a user value proposition to the act of profiling, such that the deeper and richer your profile the more value you receive as a user. This value prop can't be fear-based, it has to be interesting, motivating and rewarding.
Privacy Controls -- users have to be in control. If your profiling quality and the coupled user value propositions are outstanding, then why not let users edit their own profile, or even allow others to use it (with permission)?
No work -- this is why social search (in its current form) won't work. It requires explicit user action (bookmark or a manual vote of some sort). I believe the Implicit Web has to leverage the activities of the user already, their publishing and browsing. No incremental work is required to achieve incremental benefit.
He mentions the AttentionTrust organization in his post too. The success of AttentionTrust seems to be dependent on a user revolution against all the Web sites out there, because there's nothing in it for the Web sites. That ain't gonna happen, as evidenced by some of the comments in Alex' post. Nonetheless, I believe there IS an opportunity for a business to be a central repository and broker of people's behaviors/intentions/context (the others online) provided the above requirements are met.