Photo credit: Flickr/kevindooley
The Semantic Web is so very much about adaptability â€“ adaptability of data to serve new purposes, adaptability to top-down and bottom-up approaches, and delivery of a whole new Web space that users will adapt to, without necessarily even realizing the mechanics behind the change. Semantic Web entrepreneurs are discovering that adaptability matters to their own business models as well, when the field is still so green, many people still aren’t 100 percent sure about why the Semantic Web might matter to them, and potential big customers may be skeptical about the street cred of an emerging company in a space that may still feel a little blurry to them.
Take the case of startup Bueda, co-founded by CEO Vasco Pedro. It originally envisioned that its tagging technology would come in handy for scenarios such as helping content sites rich with video and images better monetize advertising opportunities around their user-generated content, as well as generally help publishers with support for improved recommendations and search accuracy. The idea got people’s interest, says Pedro, but also left them a little confused. At its matching engine API’s launch a few months back, “we had an interesting set of use cases,” Pedro says, but acknowledges it was too general and diffuse for users to easily grasp onto. There was a lot of input about how to enhance the API, but to what clearly understood end? “Unless there’s a very clear motive for using it people are just going to dip their toes in. So we had to eat our own dog food and come up with an application that uses the API.”