[LINK] Grocery Choice - what's the problem?

Sylvano sylvano at gnomon.com.au
Wed Jul 1 00:03:02 AEST 2009

On Tuesday 30 June 2009, Craig Sanders wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 09:54:38PM +1000, Sylvano wrote:
> > We kind of don't need government, choice or the retailers to keep
> > track of the pricing of things.
> actually, government and legislation ARE essential - without them, if
> any service like the snaptell one you mention ever became a significant
> factor in the marketplace, it would be astro-turfed into irrelevance.

I take your point, though I did only say that a user generated price 
comparison internet based utility was something to *consider*.  And it comes 
off the back of the particular observation, as I mentioned, of a market 
research service that does in fact operate that gathers detailed product 
pricing info from regular people as part of a market research panel. 

And that service is an example of something that exists, which does not 
require government or legislation - or retailers - to achieve it's aim.

The consideration of "the option of people uploading info to an online price 
sharing web site" *is* a compelling one, for that very reason that it's not 
reliant on government or retailers.

But there are issues to face, of which there was the one you raised, being 
astro-turfing. Particularly where "those with deep enough pockets or by 
skilled memetic engineers" can subvert a crowd-sourced info site.  But I have 
to admit that I'm not at all clear on how government or legislation would 
helpful toward stopping that kind of thing. [Net Filters Stop Porn, Net 
Filters Stop Porn, Net Filters Stop Porn...]

By comparison, the actions of the users themselves to provide a corrective to 
the input of "bad data,"  whether in the context of Amazon reviews, wikipedia 
entries or whatever, is difficult to ignore.

Anyway, I was thinking more of the kind of issue that David Boxall raised:

   "People are fickle. They get bored. How long does the crowd continue to 
provide information? My guess is that the flow of data quickly dwindles to a 
trickle. Something more substantial and more durable is needed."

Compared to this challenge, the technical matters and dealing with malevolent 
forces is relatively simple.



Gnomon Publishing

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