semantic ecommerce

PaySwarm (Part II) – Interview with Manu Sporny

Manu SpornyYesterday, we ran Part I of our conversation with Manu Sporny, CEO of Digital Bazaar, about Payswarm, a new type of micropayment standard for the web. Today, we dive a bit deeper into the process of how Payswarm is being developed as a Semantic Web based standard rather than a proprietary technology.

SW: Tell us a bit about the choice to create PaySwarm as a standards project.
MS: The answer lies somewhere in a lack of open, patent- and royalty-free standards for online payments. Filling out your credit card information on every site you want to support is not the answer. Neither is signing up to a proprietary payment service. What we need are open standards for payment on the Web – once that is in place, we can look forward to an explosion in innovative start-ups centered around finance and crowd-sourced funding. We can also look forward to more individuals being enabled to make a living via the Web which, given this incredibly deep recession, will have a very positive impact on a number of people’s lives.

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PaySwarm – Give Someone $0.02 for Their Two Cents (Part I)

Manu SpornyManu Sporny, Founder/CEO of Digital Bazaar, Inc., sat down with to discuss Payswarm, a new standard that he is working on through a W3C Community Group. This article is Part 1 of 2. What is PaySwarm?
Manu Sporny: It is a universal payment standard designed specifically for the Web. Think “an open source PayPal on steroids” – an open, patent and royalty free specification for Web Payments. The goal of PaySwarm is to make crowd-funding, world-changing ideas, buying and selling online as easy as sending an e-mail or an instant message. We want payment to be baked into the core of the Web so that exciting new companies can be launched on top of this truly open payment platform.

We want to enable anybody in the world to launch a PayPal, KickStarter, or Kiva. Think of what the Web did for companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. We think PaySwarm can do that for the next generation of start-ups that want to transform the way we reward each other on the Web. Improving the way we organize financial resources to enhance our personal lives and pursue endeavors that improve upon the human condition is at the core of what we’re doing.
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Introducing Atosho

Atosho has stepped onto the semantic advertising scene with a new ecommerce tool “which allows web users to buy products via a sophisticated web banner or widget, which the company refers to as a Microshop.” The article continues, “Imagine you are reading an article on a fashion blog and it mentions a certain pair of shoes from a designer. The Atosho tool would deliver those particular shoes or similar ones to the user on the same page. The user could then view the product, order it and pay for it without having to leave the page.” Read more

Bing Brings It On (RDFa, That Is)

The Twittersphere is buzzing about the Semantic Web at last grabbing onto the hearts and minds of the whole web community. It started off with a tweet from Juan Sequeda – a contributor to The Semantic Web Blog and a well-known figure in our area – that reads:





A follow-up message explains:




Follow that link and you’ll find yourself at a Bing webmaster help site that indicates Microsoft wants to play nice with whatever markup approach webmasters want to implement – microdata, microformats, or RDFa. The site mark-up overview on the page referenced says that Bing’s “crawlers do not prefer one specification over another. It’s entirely up to you to decide which of the supported specifications best fits your data.

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New Word Graph API Takes Wordnik From Fun and Funky Apps to Some Serious Business Services

You may know Wordnik from subscribing to its Word of the Day service (by the way, today that word is eloign). Or perhaps you know it from some of the apps that have used its API – such as Freebase WordNet Explorer, or one of the many mobile ones that let users access direct features of the system through their smart phones.

Now comes something new on the API front: Word Graph is the latest result of some three years of algorithm development around analyzing the digital text that Wordnik has collected from partners, to understand the relationship between words in order to derive meaning. Word Graph matches content based on digital text from partners who need to understand more of what their content says and is, and to help them and their services make decisions based on that understanding.

In that respect, it’s taking Wordnik’s API services closer to helping accomplish business requirements, rather than drive neat B-to-C apps, from crossword puzzles to jumble games to pronunciation voice services, where its APIs have currently mostly been employed.

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Sindice Puts The Web of Data At Your Disposal

Ltd. launched as a startup company this week, complete with a publicly available beta SPARQL endpoint to its indexed and live-updated dataset of some 12 billion triples. Next week will see Sindice –which began as a joint academic research project among DERI, the Fondazione Bruno Kessler and OpenLink Software to collect, search, query and build applications on top of semantically marked up Web data — deliver formal support for

Sindice, of course, is agnostic when it comes to ingesting semantic markup formats. Supporting new formats is just a matter of syntax adaptation for the service. Whatever format a web site decides to employ — from RDF to RDFa to microformats to microdata — Sindice has coverage of the structured web data and keeps it fresh.

The service opens up vast possibilities for business: As long as a web site structures data in one of these formats, and uses standards like Sitemaps for publishing semantic content, it can become a part of Sindice’s continuously updated repository. And thus it become a datasource for business use, one that also can join with other datasets.

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The Semantic Web is Taking Hold in Business

The semantic web is extending its reach into more and more businesses with tremendous effect., for example saw a 33% rise in holiday sales in 2010 over its 2009 holiday sales. The company’s co-founder credits much of that increase to their new semantic retail platform powered by Endeca Technologies.

The new platform analyzes “shoppers’ keyword choices and clicks, and then winnows down results from categories to subcategories and microcategories. The end result? ‘Guiding the shopper to the perfect bag very quickly,’ Cobb says.”

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Happy New Year: What’s Ahead for the Semantic Web (Part 2)

Our experts’ insight into the very near future continues from here….

Where Search is Heading, Where Data is Going

Starting with 2010, I think the most significant event was Google’s acquisition of Freebase.

The number one search player voted for the importance of the Semantic Web with dollars and this is a significant win for the space and a sign that it has matured.

In terms of expectations, we can, in the near term, expect more relevant search results and possibly ranking of related topics coming directly from Google. Other uses of Freebase are possible as well, in terms of doing complex queries that aren’t easy to do using statistical algorithms like Page Rank.

Beyond that, we should see progress along two dimensions — one is on-the-fly transformation of non-structured data into structured and second one is intelligent programs that actually take advantage of structured information. Regarding the first one, we are still in the world where Freebase is mostly static, while Google search is dynamic. Bridging the gap where structured information is created on an ongoing basis, and perhaps on-the-fly, is important.

And then I think we are going to see more agent based systems re-appear. As information gets more and more structured it is only a matter of time before agent-based software comes to the spotlight. This time, the key will be simple/clean UX/UI and crystal-clear focus on a vertical problem to make sure it  has a chance for mass market adoption. – Alex Iskold, founder and CEO, AdaptiveBlue

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Happy New Year: What’s Ahead for the Semantic Web (Part 1)

The New Year’s almost here, and of course that brings with it a time to reflect on what’s been and muse on what’s ahead. To that end, the Semantic Web Blog asked some industry names to share their perspectives – and concerns about some of the direction, as well. Start reading about them today, and join us again tomorrow for their insights, Part 2.

Ka-Ching: There’s Money To Be Made

One thing clearly on the practical side is that the number of new datasets that appear is just coming and coming and coming. It’s very difficult to give exact estimates on how many new data sets on the semantic web appear per week or month but it’s really high…..That data is important, data on the web is important, and handling and working with data on the web is important as a trend. There are zillions of small technical details on how this should be done, what format and do you do it with HTML or not, but the overall trend is very clear and I don’t think it can be stopped. [So] I hope we will get really serious and see new types of real applications, not only in terms of experimentation but real apps that make money in some way or other using the Linked Data that’s out there. We saw some appearing in 2010 and I hope – and have good hopes – that in 2011 we will see that.  – Ivan Herman, Semantic Web Activity Lead, W3c

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Google Recommends Using RDFa and the GoodRelations Vocabulary

Martin Hepp, of Hepp Research, GmbH, announced today that Google now recommends using the GoodRelations vocabulary for product and price information in Web pages.  This is significant news for broader adoption of the Semantic Web and Linked Data.

Why is this significant?  Read more