Thinglinks link the things that bind the world together

Ulla-Maaria Mutanen seems to be onto something here:

Most products of the pro-am revolution are, however, not part of the long tail. Neither are most works of art, design objects, handcrafts, or the products of small manufacturers in developing countries. The reason why they are not part of the long tail is that recommendations are based on unique product identifiers. Without an identifier, the product does not exist on the market. Where product codes end, so does the long tail.

So, for all these small scale products that fall through the cracks of organized capitalism, they created ThingLinks: essentially free URIs you can just allocate for free.

I see immediately one problem here: at the lowest end of the long tail, the quantity of objects just explodes. Real mass production: there are just so many people making small things. (A free sneaky ad: check out Outi's jewellery; that's the kind of thing that's targeted by the ~ThingLink.)

Anyhow, in my understanding the product codes exist in order to make inventories easier; not to make it easier for consumers to find out more. This is handled by putting the phone number of the manufacturer or importer on the label, and mandatory lists of ingredients, etc. Few people actually take a barcode reader (readily available) and go to the web to search for more information on common objects. And the ones that you would go to find information about, have names (and trademarks, and brans). Is there a really a need or a want among people to find out more about a sweater they bought from a shop somewhere in Siberia, and what kind of information could you even find out about a sweater?

The thing becomes more interesting when applied to bigger pieces of art; say paintings or songs. With more work, and more emotional involvement, a story is born. And it might be interesting to find out about this story. Perhaps.

But I certainly see a point for something like this for small manufacturers in third world countries. In order to enhance their infrastructure and logistics, it would make sense to start working on things like barcodes (2D and regular) for ~ThingLinks, RFID/NFC tag formats, etc. Note that ~ThingLinks are not compatible with currently existing infrastructure, so it would be difficult to impose them in countries where such an infrastructure already exists. But then again, using ~ThingLinks in third world countries would require infrastructure, which they might not be able to afford...

Somehow, I'm not excited. Then again, I am a grumpy, old bastard these days. And often wrong.




Comments

Nice beads. Are those some of the ones you picked up in Vancouver? :-)

--Sanjay, 28-Oct-2005


Nope. She hasn't used them yet (says they're too nice).

--JanneJalkanen, 28-Oct-2005


I want to use them on something special :) Haven't figured out yet what it is though. If Janne's sweet enough to go bead shopping for me in Canada, those beads deserve to become something very special :D

--Outi, 30-Oct-2005


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