The rise of edge content continues – iNods, which launched today, is the most recent example.
iNods aggregates blog and other edge review content and displays it in a centralized way for users. Unlike similar services kritX and blogcritics, which aggregate general review information contained on blogs (and are excellent), iNods is completely focused on shopping.
Like the others, iNods has realized that there is a massive amount of review information out there in the blogosphere. And more is being created every day. They are harvesting that information, making it searchable, and driving highly targeted traffic right back to the blogs to read that content.
They also require blog registration to include content, although they do already have fairly deep content and so I assume they have added some sources without their registration. They say that they will support microformats in the future, but at this point it is not a requirement. This means bloggers do not need to format their data in any particular way to have it included on iNods.
I’d like to see these services expand their technology so as not to require blogger registration or microformats (kritX, blogcritics and iNods all require one or both of these). This is a harder problem to solve because they need to go through every blog post and figure out what is relevant to their service.
Structured blogging initiatives and/or blogger registration certainly make it easier for services like this to recognize and gather the specific edge content they are looking for, I do not believe it is necessary. Existing tagging and syndication platforms are all the tools these vertical search engines need.
There is no way centralized review sites like Yelp, Riffs, Judy’s Book and others can compete with the blogosphere over the long run. Those sites will also have to gather decentralized content, or become meaningless. More and more people are realizing this and writing about it – a good post by Rachel Cunliffe (one example) is here.