A Case for Attention.xml

A couple months back, I was shopping for a new car, Jen and I spent hours combing automakers websites looking at their models, the model’s specs, comparing it against the car we wanted to buy.

Ford knows I went to their site. Honda knows I went to their site. Both know which models I looked at, which pages I loaded, and where I left. If they don’t…well…that’s a different post. They don’t know what of their competitors’ offering I studied. I’m happy to share that with them and anyone else interested. Ford might just glean I’m intrigued with the Honda Element but feel its mph is irresponsible. Honda might just glean that Ford still doesn’t have anything interesting. You might glean I’m looking for a stylish 4-door wagon-type vehicle with decent mileage – and might be able to make a recommendation.

At the transaction level, all I’d let Ford and Honda know about me is: in Minnesota, on a Mac, currently owns a Dodge Neon. No other personally identifiable information – unless they gave me a reason to offer it. You on the other hand, may know more about me. You might even have my email address, phone number, and some other bit of information both unique to me and integral to my car buying.

Notice the difference between in the information you, my friend and loyal reader, have and the information I’ve given the automakers.

What would the automakers have to offer me for the same level of information I’ve offered you?

Welcome to the Attention Economy.

Steve Gillmor’s Not Kidding about it. He’s started the non-profit AttentionTrust to prove it. Seth Goldstein is on board, and concisely states the need for an Attention marketplace,

“Our attention establishes intention; and our intention establishes economic value. Once one recognizes the value of one’s attention, it is shocking to see how cheaply most people offer theirs to companies looking for their business.”

Attention.xml, or something like it has huge implications for measuring the success of a conversation. It has the potential to solve the problems of Nielsen ratings, web metrics, and counting a podcasts listeners.

One Reply to “A Case for Attention.xml”

  1. I’ve wanted attention or something like it for some time, but not for others. For myself.

    I’d like to stop book marking things, and start searching my viewing history, the subset of the web that is familiar to me.

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