Is Structured Blogging Really Blogging?

Posted on December 15, 2005

InternetNews.com has an article about the new Structured Blogging Initiative that is finding both fans and critics in the blogosphere. Structured Blogging introduces new styles and tags that identify different types of content that could be posted in a blog such as reviews, items for sale, job listings, personal ads, etc.

Salim Ismail, cofounder of PubSub Concepts, told InternetNews.com that there is a lot of information in blogs that search tools can't find. Ismail also talked about how Structured Blogging could help compile information like personal ads and items for sale.

According to Ismail, when people post job listings or items for sale, the data is owned by the Web site where it's posted, rather than by the person who posted it -- and sellers often need to pay to post. Using the schematics provided by the initiative would allow feed syndicators such as PubSub to find such information and offer it to others in aggregated form.

Say you need a date. Right now, a single must pay to subscribe to and search multiple dating sites, Ismail said. If individuals published their datability using the structured formats, "You could say, 'I want all the tall blondes from Sweden.'" Publishing structured data would allow people to find things on blogs in a more interesting and useful way, he added.

Canter and Ismail emphasized that structured blogging could allow companies to build new services that take advantage of the data, which could be stored in shared repositories or distributed via services such as FeedMesh, a service for sharing and distributing notifications of feed updates to which PubSub is a major contributor.

It looks like the value in Structured Blogging has more to do with building a distributed classified ad network than improving blogging. It was mentioned a few months ago that blogs might one day be used to take on classifieds and services like Monster and eBay -- maybe Structured Blogging is the way this will happen. But does anyone really think of the posting of classified ads as blogging? Will bloggers want to post entries using Structured Blogging tags that offer their personal items up for sale? Wouldn't this interrupt the flow of some of the more serious blogs from a readers perspective? One possibility is that bloggers could set up a seperate "blog" for posting items like classifieds, help wanted ads and dating profiles using Structure Blogging formats but it sounds like a lot of extra work when these services already exist. Complexity may also be an issue. Ismail's "tall blondes from Sweden" example will only work if the tall blondes from Sweden can figure out Structured Blogging.

The article also mentions a competitor to Structured Blogging called Microformats.



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