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December 27 2011

Open Question: Is it realistic for publishers to cut Amazon out of the equation?


Kindle79DRM is a hotly controversial topic, but most publishers continue to insist on employing it to protect content from piracy. In a recent blog post, author Charlie Stross argued that "the strategy of demanding DRM everywhere is going to boomerang, inflicting horrible damage on the very companies who want it." Stross said Amazon is publishing's next biggest threat after piracy, and employing DRM is like handing Amazon a big stick.

Until 2008, ebooks were a tiny market segment, under 1% and easily overlooked; but in 2009 ebook sales began to rise exponentially, and ebooks now account for over 20% of all fiction sales. In some areas ebooks are up to 40% of the market and rising rapidly. (I am not making that last figure up: I'm speaking from my own sales figures.) And Amazon have got 80% of the ebook retail market ... the Big Six's pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform.

But what's a publisher to do?

A back-channel discussion started brewing around Stross' post, and suggestions of cutting Amazon out of the equation cropped up as a possible solution to its growing hold on the market. Kassia Krozser, owner of Booksquare.com, made a salient point (included here with permission):

Many in the industry see Amazon as a threat (rightly so, in some regards). However, trying to cut Amazon out of the ebook equation means cutting a large readership out of the equation.

One thing we know with absolute certainty about the ebook market is that we do not have a clue how large it is. If you only factor major US publishers into the mix, you get one set of data points. If you factor the entire ebook publishing spectrum into the mix, the numbers relating to market share will look very different — perhaps a bit broader than we'd expect, despite the fact that Amazon would still dominate.

I pay close attention to authors who discuss their digital sales, and while they give mad props to various retailers, they consistently cite Amazon as their largest, most consistent source of sales. Leaving Amazon "out" means leaving a large and growing number of readers out (based on recent press releases from Amazon — sans real numbers, of course ... but nobody gives up real numbers). Put another way, it means leaving a large percentage of sales on the table. I'm fairly certain this is not the goal of authors and publishers.

Stross' point that Amazon is doing very well at locking readers into its platform can't be denied, but its distribution reach also can't be denied. This begs a couple of questions: Could publishers quit Amazon — all of it — cold turkey? If not, how can publishers take advantage of Amazon's platforms without being undermined by them?

I invited Krozser to open the discussion with her response.

Kassia Krozser: Last week's rather confusing co-op story — in which Amazon is apparently demanding higher amounts for (digital) co-op and publisher-generated media — highlighted a fundamental truth: all is not fair in love and business. Like its bricks and mortar relatives before it, Amazon will squeeze vendors as much as possible.

But that is pretty much beside the point. Amazon's consumer base is too large for publishers to play serious hardball — readers have too many options for publishers to lock themselves out of the Amazon readership. And, frankly, it is the policies of many publishers that have led us to what I like to call retailer lock-in.

As a Kindle owner (happy, happy Kindle owner, I will note), it is near impossible for me to patronize other retailers because publishers insist on DRM. Amazon chose its own DRM flavor. As do other major retailers. Cross-compatibility is a fantasy for readers. I love publishers who eschew DRM (and I'd love a serious study that compares pirating of DRM-only versus DRM-free publishers ... something tells me those numbers are very interesting). Without DRM, I can buy from non-Amazon retailers. With DRM, I am stuck.

So, how not to be undermined by Amazon? Give consumers options. Policies that lock readers into a retailer don't help create a diverse marketplace. This is in the control of publishers.

That's Krozser's take. What's yours? Please weigh in through the comments.

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November 10 2011

Access or ownership: Which will be the default?

Open QuestionIn a recent article, The Atlantic takes a looks at the threads that connect Steve Case's investments:

A luxury-home network. A car-sharing company. An explosive deal site. Maybe you see three random ideas. [Steve] Case and his team saw three bets that paid off thanks to a new Web economy that promotes power in numbers and access over ownership. [Emphasis added.]

From time to time at Radar we've been checking in on this "access vs. ownership" trend.

For example, Lisa Gansky, author of "The Mesh," explained why businesses need to embrace sharing and open systems

Corey Pressman, founder of Exprima Media, discussed the role customization will play in an access-dominant media world:

... music access versus ownership is very compelling. I could see a possible near future in which "accessible music" (streaming unlimited cloud access) trumps "owned music" (purchased CDs or downloads). In this scenario, customization — creating customized playlists — is external to the media; customization is handled by the conduit, not the content.

More from Pressman here.

In "What if a book is just a URL?", Radar contributor Jenn Webb pointed out ebook companies that ignore downloads and instead provide access to material.

And in an interview with Audrey Watters, education theorist George Siemens noted that in the education data/analytics world, "Data access and ownership are equally important issues: who should be able to see the analysis that schools perform on learners?"

Business, media, publishing, data, education — these are all areas where access vs. ownership has organically popped up in our coverage. And it's easy to see how the same trend applies to the technical side: access requires storage and ubiquity, which generally leads to a cloud solution (and then you get into issues like public cloud vs private cloud, who's responsible for uptime, what happens when there's a breach, who actually owns that data, how do you maximize performance, and on and on ...)

What's your take? Will access become the default? Or is ownership a hardwired trait?

Please weigh in through the comments or join the conversation at Google+.

Strata 2012 — The 2012 Strata Conference, being held Feb. 28-March 1 in Santa Clara, Calif., will offer three full days of hands-on data training and information-rich sessions. Strata brings together the people, tools, and technologies you need to make data work.

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October 17 2011

Open Question: What needs to happen for tablets to replace laptops?

Open QuestionI've owned an iPad since you could own an iPad. I upgraded from iPad 1 to iPad 2 because the thinner form factor, faster response and Smart Cover were too hard to resist. So, I suppose you could say I'm a fan — both of the iPad itself and the overall tablet experience it provides.

But here's the thing: I now often carry a tablet and a laptop and a smartphone. The dream of one device to rule them all has morphed into a hazy vision of three devices that are all somehow necessary (tablet for browsing/consuming, laptop for real work, phone for on-the-go updates/camera — how did it come to this?).

Now, I know there are people out there who can bend a tablet to their will. I don't have that super power. "Inputting" on my tablet is an exercise in hunt-and-peck futility. More often than not I delay long email responses and other typing-intensive work until I'm stationed in front of a proper computer. This is why my tablet experience, in its current form, can never replace my laptop experience.

I bring all this up because participants in a recent back-channel email thread did something really interesting: They ignored the question of where tablets fit in now and instead examined the specific features they would need before tablets could replace their laptops. The focus was shifted from how tablets currently work to how they should work.

Here's a few tablet wish lists from the email thread (republished with permission; names withheld).

Participant 1:

I want a laptop with a removable screen that acts like a tablet — in other words, a dockable tablet. I want it to have great voice recognition. I want it to have Swype, so I can input text without having to "poke type" at a virtual keyboard with fingers or thumbs — and so I can input text one-handed quickly and easily. I want it to have great battery life in tablet mode, augmented by a second battery in the dock. I also want it to have a stylus, but the stylus should slide into the tablet, like my old Windows phone (v 6.5), so it doesn't get lost easily.

The dock would have a touchpad, the large battery as mentioned earlier, and would have extra USB ports so I can hook up other peripherals. The dock should obviously have a built-in keyboard and a reasonably large hard drive (250 GB or so). The total weight should not be much greater than existing lightweight laptops (a little heavier because of the extra battery). The tablet should be chargeable from the dock battery, so that if I run out of tablet power and place it in the dock, the tablet recharges from the dock battery. I want it to have a decent rear-facing camera (I don't care much about a front-facing one), Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, speakers, and (optionally) 4G cell radio capability.

Participant 2:

I find it hard to fault my Lenovo S12 — 3 pounds, 6 hrs of battery, great keyboard, 250 GB hard drive (no CD drive), HDMI output, 3 USB ports, Wi-Fi, ethernet, Windows 7, Office 2010. It makes tablets seem like Vespas (not to denigrate Vespas — just being realistic).

I've tried to take my iPad to meetings, and I've seen people with that toy keyboard Apple offered initially (though I like the looks of some of the new case/keyboard combos), and I've seen people do great presentations with an iPad. But input is the barrier. I've never had an opportunity to use Swype, but it's an intriguing solution. Voice recognition also seems plausible if you're not in a public setting.

I think what I really want at this point is a 1-pound S12. Lenovo has an interesting Android tablet, but it all comes back to the keyboard and input, doesn't it? If Windows 8 can deliver both the traditional desktop experience and a tablet experience that builds on WinPhone7, that gets closer to what I want. If I can get to three screens (TV-Tablet-Phone) instead of a dozen or whatever it is, that would be good.

Your take?

As you can see, people on the thread indulged their specificity. I'd like to invite Radar readers to do the same thing by addressing these open questions:

  • Do you use multiple devices throughout the day? If so, which ones?
  • How about when you travel — which devices do you pack?
  • Have you tried going tablet-only? What worked? What didn't?
  • And finally: What improvements do you need to see before you go tablet-only?

Please weigh in through the comments or Google+.

TOC NY 2012 — O'Reilly's TOC Conference, being held Feb 13-15, 2012, in New York City, is where the publishing and tech industries converge. Practitioners and executives from both camps will share what they've learned and join together to navigate publishing's ongoing transformation.

Register to attend TOC 2012

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June 02 2011

Open Question: Would you fund your favorite author?

questionmarkPublishers can start preparing for some new competition — from readers. A new crowdfunded service called Unbound launched at this year's Hay Festival. The platform, which sounds similar to Kickstarter, allows readers to fund the books they want to read. A post at the Guardian describes how it works:

The Unbound.co.uk publishing platform ... allows writers to pitch ideas online directly to readers who, if they are interested, pledge financial support. Once enough money has been raised, the author will write the book, with supporters receiving anything from an ebook to a limited first edition and lunch with the author, depending on their level of investment.

And Unbound didn't launch with unknown self-publishing authors — Terry Jones is on board, as are Tibor Fischer and Gavin Pretor-Pinney.

This raises the question: Would you fund your favorite author?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Webcast: Digital Bookmaking Tools Roundup — Pete Meyers looks at the growing number of digital book tools: what's best, what's easiest to use, and what's worth putting in your book-building toolkit.

Join us on Thursday, June 30, 2011, at 10 am PT
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May 19 2011

Open Question: Are we at the ebook tipping point?

questionmarkIn a news release today, Amazon announced that Kindle book sales are outpacing sales of hardcover and paperback book sales combined. The release included several interesting statistics:

  • Since April 1, for every 100 print books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.
  • Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, Amazon.co.uk is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, Amazon.co.uk customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.

These stats beg the question: Are we at the ebook tipping point?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.



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April 29 2011

Open question: Would you rent a laptop?

questionmarkAmid rumors that Google will soon release its Chrome OS-based netbook there are also rumblings the laptop will be available on a subscription basis. A post on technology news site Neowin last week stated:

Neowin can now confirm from a reliable source that the Google Chrome OS based notebooks will be available for "purchase" in late June/early July ... Google will be selling the devices as part of a subscription based model with Gmail to customers.

Neowin's Google source also spilled rental fee details: "$10-$20 a month per user," and this would include hardware updates and repair as necessary.

Interesting concept — a sort of laptop democratization. The expected laptop will be cloud-based and make use of Chrome apps.

This begs a couple of questions:

  • Would you rent a laptop?
  • Would a cloud-based device like this suit your laptop needs?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.



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March 30 2011

Open question: How much convenience are you willing to give up for security?

questionmarkSecurity measures to protect online information increasingly require end-user involvement. As an example, Google recently introduced a 2-step verification process. It certainly offers an additional layer of security, but it doesn't come easy. According to the instruction page:

  1. When you want to access Google products from your browser, go to that product and enter your username and password.
  2. You'll next be prompted to enter your verification code, which you'll get from your phone. You'll only have to do this once every 30 days if you so choose.
  3. Soon after you turn on 2-step verification, non-browser applications and devices that use your Google Account (such as Gmail on your phone or Outlook), will stop working. You'll then have to sign in using your username and a special password you generate for this application. (Don't worry, you'll only have to do this once for each device or application.)

So, every 30 days, the consumer must get a new code from his or her mobile or landline phone in order to access Google products. The security is increased, sure, but at what cost to the consumer? Someday, at the other end of the Way Forward machine, we'll be able to use the new encryption key for the quantum Internet to manage all our security needs. But for the time being, a couple of questions come to mind:

  • How much convenience are you willing to trade for increased security?
  • Should the responsibility fall to the consumer, or should companies work harder to create secure systems?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.



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March 23 2011

Open Question: How important is a mobile device's "feel"?

Open QuestionWhether you buy into Apple's "post-PC" spin, the rise of mobile computing does seem to shift the perspective from raw tech specs to overall experience. That's likely born from mobile's obstacles: it's harder to text than type, it's harder to swipe than click, and it's harder to scan when your big beautiful monitor has been replaced by a mini screen. The sheer horsepower of a mobile device doesn't mean much if you can't interact with the thing.

Most of us have adapted to mobile methods. Our thumbs are nimble and our swipes are filled with purpose. But it's also clear — to me at least — that adaptation is only part of the equation: a good mobile experience is connected to the overall "feel" for a device. (Note: My definition of feel goes beyond hardware. The speed, responsiveness and elegance of the software shape my opinion of a device.)

Am I alone in this thinking? That's what I hope to find out through the following questions:

  • When considering a mobile device (phone or tablet), how much importance do you place on technical specifications?
  • How about the device's overall feel — does that factor into your decision?
  • Do you have to hold and interact with a mobile device before purchasing it?
  • In your experience, which mobile devices have the best feel? Which have the worst?

Please weigh in through the comments.

Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2011, being held March 28-31, will examine key pieces of the digital economy and the ways you can use important ideas for your own success.

Save 20% on registration with the code WEBSF11RAD




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March 21 2011

Open question: Are ereaders too complex?

War and Peace on the Kindle app
Screenshot of "War and Peace" from the Kindle iPad app
In a recent post for Gear Diary, Douglas Moran bemoaned the direction technological "advancements" are taking ereader apps and devices. As examples, he compared the original Barnes & Noble eReader (which he liked) to its replacement, the Nook app (which "kinda stinks").

On a personal level, functionality is an ereader obstacle that turns me into an ebook curmudgeon. I recently was gifted a Kindle and I nearly threw it across the room trying to read "War and Peace" (as part of a year-long book club; I'm way behind).

Moran and others noted the simplicity of the Kindle and how its fewer features might make for a more straightforward reading experience. But perhaps the Kindle isn't quite simple enough. In the end, I bought the print version of "War and Peace" and gave up on the device. Trying to toggle around links to read book notes was so clunky as to make that feature completely useless. Why not put the notes at the bottom of the page? Having links is great if 1. they're easy and quick to access, and 2. you can return to your place in the book in some obvious, speedy fashion. Otherwise, just give me the content.

All this led me to questions regarding functionality and user experience in ereading:

  • Are ereader developers focusing too much on technological possibilities and losing sight of reader behavior?
  • For those of you who embrace ereading: What features on your reader(s) are extraneous or obtrusive to your reading experience?
  • For developers: When working on a new app or an update, how do you incorporate the end-user into development?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.



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March 04 2011

Open question: How should you correct a bad tweet?

Open QuestionRegular Twitter users know that deleting tweets is ethically dubious and technologically useless. A live tweet is a helium balloon in an open field — within seconds, it's long gone.

But correcting tweets is a different matter, and that's what I'm interested in discussing in this open question.

We've all tweeted incorrect links or made egregious spelling errors, and many of us live with the horror — real or imagined — of launching a direct message into the public Twitter commons. Yet, an agreed upon correction standard has yet to manifest (as far as I know).

So here's what I'm curious about:

  • If you mess up a tweet, do you send a follow-up correction?
  • What isn't worth correcting? Spelling errors? A tweet that runs too long?
  • Should Twitter accounts associated with established information sources (@nytimes, @cnn, etc.) always send corrections?
  • Is there a correction window? For example, if you notice an error in a tweet you sent two hours ago, should you bother correcting it?

Please weigh in through the comments.

Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2011, being held March 28-31, will examine key pieces of the digital economy and the ways you can use important ideas for your own success.

Save 20% on registration with the code WEBSF11RAD




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February 07 2011

Open question: Will you use mobile payment?

open questionWith near field communications technology built into rumored and released devices and lots of jockeying among large companies, it certainly feels like big things are afoot in the mobile payment world.

But the success of mobile payment is contingent on consumer perception. If it clicks, you've got a winner. If not, you've got yet another idea that just didn't catch on.

That's why I want to take a step back from the current excitement and focus on a different part of this discussion: How you, as a consumer, might incorporate mobile payment into your daily life.

Here's what I'm curious about:

  • What would it take for you to use mobile payment? (Or, if you're already using an app or tool, what convinced you to give it a try?)
  • Which companies -- or types of companies -- do you think are best positioned to offer mobile payment?
  • Do you see mobile payment as an additive payment option? Or do you think it will be a full-fledged replacement for credit cards and cash?

Please weigh in through the comments.


If you're interested in learning more about the payment development space, check out PayPal X DevZone, a collaboration between O'Reilly and PayPal.




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February 01 2011

Open question: Do libraries help or hurt publishing?

questionmarkI might not know who Nancy Drew is if it weren't for libraries. Granted, I ended up buying most of the series — or rather, my parents did — but the library was the discovery zone. It still works like that for me today; I now own three Richard Russo books because of the library.

Libraries have been a part of most of our lives in one way or another, yet they are in a constant struggle for funding. Jerry Brown, the governor of California, is proposing a budget that would pull back all state funding for libraries. Some libraries, such as the Butler Public Library in Indiana, are thinking out of the box to raise funding (see the banner at the top of their site). And the struggle isn't only in the United States.

With libraries around the world in such financial jeopardy, a couple of questions come to mind:

  • What purpose (if any) has a library served for you?
  • If libraries ceased to exist, what would the ramifications be?
  • Do libraries help or hurt publishing?

Please share your thoughts in the comments area. To continue the discussion, check out the TOC panel Solving the Digital Loan Problem: Can Library Lending of eBooks be a Win-win for Publishers AND Libraries? February 16 at TOC 2011.

TOC: 2011, being held Feb. 14-16, 2011 in New York City, will explore "publishing without boundaries" through a variety of workshops, keynotes and panel sessions.

Save 15% off registration with the code TOC11RAD

January 25 2011

Open question: How is your publishing organization addressing DRM?

questionmarkLast week in an interview with Brian O'Leary about the current state of piracy in the book industry, the subject of digital rights management (DRM) and its relationship to piracy came up. Brian said:

I'm pretty adamant on DRM: It has no impact whatsoever on piracy. Any good pirate can strip DRM in a matter of seconds to minutes ... DRM is really only useful for keeping people who otherwise might have shared a copy of a book from doing so.

To be clear, Brian wasn't saying he's against DRM — he actually didn't state his opinion about it at all, other than to note that DRM is a useless tool against piracy.

Mike Shatzkin responded to Brian's interview, agreeing that DRM isn't an effective tool to prevent piracy, but that it is important because it prevents casual sharing. He wrote:

I do think DRM prevents "casual sharing" (it sure stops me; and I think most people are more like me than they are like my friends who break DRM for sport) and I believe — based on faith, not on data — that enabling casual sharing would do real damage to ebook sales with the greatest damage to the biggest books.

A piece from Wired further muddied the DRM waters by showing how almost anyone can strip book DRM in a few short steps.

All of this leads me to a couple questions:

  • What fears, concerns, and issues do publishers hope DRM can address? Piracy? Sharing? Something else?
  • Is DRM is a long-term solution?
  • If you work for a publisher, how is your organization using DRM?

Please share your thoughts in the comments area.

TOC: 2011, being held Feb. 14-16, 2011 in New York City, will explore "publishing without boundaries" through a variety of workshops, keynotes and panel sessions.

Save 15% on registration with the code TOC11RAD

January 14 2011

Open question: What's the point of inbox zero?

Open QuestionI have 10,021 unread messages in my inbox. Ignored newsletters and various bits of nearly-useless information make up most of that unread count (I think). That's why 10k+ unaddressed messages don't concern me.

But is my ease misplaced? There seems to be an awful lot of people -- or a few vocal people, I can't tell which -- that pursue "inbox zero" with evangelistic zeal.

To be clear, I don't fault anyone who pursues the tidiness of an empty inbox. If that's what you want to do, so be it. Rather, I just don't understand the motivations and intentions behind inbox zero (nor do I understand why so many feel it necessary to publicize their inbox successes and failures through Twitter ... but that's another matter).

So, because I find the whole "inbox zero" thing curious, I figured I'd toss out a few open questions:

  • Do you try to get your inbox down to zero unread messages? If so, why?
  • Is inbox zero something you try to achieve every day? Every month? Every quarter?
  • What does inbox zero represent to you? Does it have deeper meaning?
  • Does inbox zero lead to better overall organization?

Please share your thoughts in the comments area.


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December 13 2010

November 09 2010

Open question: Do you trust market research surveys?

open questionAs recently as last year, actual information about ebook consumers was nearly impossible to come by. But lately, throw a virtual rock in any direction and you're likely to hit an ereading or ebook research report. Just yesterday Forrester released their latest such report, including very reportable and re-tweetable highlights such as:

  • 2010 will end with $966 million in ebooks sold to consumers.
  • By 2015, the industry will have nearly tripled to almost $3 billion, a point at which the industry will be forever altered.
  • Current ebook readers in the survey expect an average of 51 percent of the books they read will be ebooks
  • Four in 10 people who own or expect to buy an ereader shop at Amazon for physical books.
  • Exactly 50 percent of people who bought an ebook in the past month have bought ebooks from Amazon's Kindle store.

On the same day, French management consultants Bain + Company reported that by 2015 between 15-20 percent of the book reading public will own electronic devices, and up to 25 percent of books will be sold in digital form. This nice sound bite was included with their press release: "Experimenting with new formats -- non-linear, hybrid, interactive or social -- is where opportunity lies."


These are just the tips of the e-iceberg. The data and research are coming at an unprecedented pace from all manner of organizations, associations, private firms, and individuals.

Studies are great. Data is awesome. The ebook market has gone without much of either for far too long. But, could it be that in our thirst for consumer ereading information, we're drinking down all this newly available data without stopping to check exactly what's in it? The temptation with market research is to read the cherry-picked bullet points and stop there. We need to look closer. Sometimes the small print says a whole lot more than the sound bites. It's important to understand the methodology behind the results, including factors such as:

  • How well-defined is the target population?
  • Is the sample being studied random?
  • How did the research group chose its random sample?
  • Was the sample size large enough to produce meaningful results?
  • Are the questions unbiased?


We've banged lightly on this drum before, but we thought it'd be nice, given so many new study summaries being released of late, to open up the topic for discussion.

So here goes:

Do you trust market research surveys? What would you need to know in order to make a key business decision based on survey results?

Feel free to chime in through the comments area. You're also welcome to join us on Thursday during our first TOC LinkedIn Open House discussion, hosted by BookSwim.com's Javeen Padiyar. If you're not already a member of TOC's LinkedIn Group, it's easy to sign up.


Also of interest: "eReading Survey Findings and Research: A Look Behind the Numbers," a TOC 2011 panel to be moderated by Sarah Weinman.



Open question: How much location information are you willing to share?

open questionA recent back-channel conversation here at O'Reilly focused on the overlap between location, data, and privacy. We have these sorts of chats from time to time -- and they're often lively -- but what struck me about this one was the dual nature of the topics at hand: all offer immense opportunity, all also offer healthy doses of bewilderment.

That duality translated into divergent viewpoints. It was clear from the call that some people accept the shifts away from privacy because they're exchanging data for useful goods and services. Other folks are more concerned. "I don't care to help them lower the bar on who gets my information," one caller said in reference to data-sharing services.

Location added a twist to the discussion. Those of us comfortable forking over private information, like credit card numbers and financial statements, might not think much of sharing location data. But a person who's been tracked by a stalker or a restrictive government probably has vastly different perspectives on location sharing -- and those perspectives deserve careful consideration.

The one thing everyone seemed to agree on during the call is that these topics are open-ended and multi-layered. That got me thinking: If we're all struggling with this internally, why not make the conversation public and see what other people have to say?

This post is the result. I'd like to learn how Radar readers are dealing with these tricky topics.

Here's a few starter questions to kick things off:

  • How much location data are you willing to share?
  • What do you expect in exchange for that data?
  • How much control do you need over your location data to be comfortable sharing it?
  • If you're uncomfortable with the kind of location data sharing that happens with Foursquare or Facebook Places, how do you feel about the hidden location data collection that happens when you buy something with a credit card, when you make a mobile phone call, or when you watch the little arrow on Google Maps that shows where you are on your route? Why?
  • Do you know how credit card companies make use of your location data?

Please weigh in through the comments. (Note: You're welcome to address any and all adjacent topics that might pop up. I'd like to see where this goes.)


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