Posting, Subscribing, Tagging AND Search
I left something important out of my posting, subscribing and tagging post that I did in early August.
There is a fourth pillar of the blogging movement and that is search.
That became obvious to me last night as I slept on Google Base.
Google Base is a web service that allows users to post listings (and probably a lot more) to a Google operated database that Google will crawl and add to their index. John Battelle asks a good question and that is will the rest of us be able to crawl Google Base?
Regardless of the answer to John’s important question, this means whenever you post something to Google Base, it appears in Google Search.
I haven’t seen Google Base, so I don’t know if it allows a user to maintain their own page in the service. I don’t know if you can subscribe via RSS to a user’s page in the service. I don’t know if you can tag items and subscribe to those items.
Assuming you can do all of those things, then posting a listing to Google Base is blogging in my definition of blogging.
If Google Base is simply a way for people to enter listings into Google Search service (like Adwords is a service to enter ads into Google Search), then it is not blogging in my definition.
And that’s where the rub is.
Because community is where the action is in classifieds.
According to my friend Mark Pincus, the founder of classifieds community Tribe.net (who has already blogged his thoughts on Google Base):
People are looking for the best leads. They will go where the time/good lead ratio is the lowest. Good leads are driven by community which reduces time and identity lets you increase the trust around leads which reduces time too (and increases safety).
The community model that Mark talks about is the foundation of Craigslist. Posting a listing to Craigslist isn’t really blogging either but they have built a community there anyway.
I think if Google is simply aggregating user listings, like it aggregates text CPC ads, then Craigslist has less to fear from Google Base. If Google Base is going to build a community, like Tribe or MySpace, then everyone has a lot to fear.
I suppose we will know soon although to date Google’s efforts in community have been miserable failures.
eBay, on the other hand, is screwed.
As Mark talks about in his post, and as John Battelle does in his, we are seeing a movement toward free and open listings. Everyone is crawling everyone. Listings are a commodity. Community is what matters.
The paid model is dying quickly. Maybe eBay should become freebay.