Editor’s note: Gil Elbaz is an entrepreneur and pioneer of natural language technology. In 1998, he co-founded Applied Semantics, which developed contextual advertising products, including ASI’s AdSense. In 2003, Google acquired ASI, and after a four-year stint at Google, Gil found Factual in 2007. Follow him on Twitter.
The term data market brings to mind a traditional structure in which vendors sell data for money. Indeed, this form of market is on the rise with companies large and small jumping in. Think of Azure Data Marketplace (Microsoft), data.com (Salesforce.com), InfoChimps.com, and DataMarket.com.
While this model allows organizations to acquire valuable data, the term is evolving to include a variety of forms, each with varying degrees of adoption success. At the heart of it, data markets enable organizations to access data in new ways, where the currency does not only have to be money, but can be in the form of data or insight.
There is also a trend where companies can outsource certain aspects of data management, especially around reference or canonical datasets, to a third party that specializes in assembling and curating datasets or creating value from data in other ways. As a result, new data economies are being formed where data can be created, accessed, rented, and perpetually maintained in a more simple and affordable way.
The new forms of data markets are powered by the Internet’s ability to allow rapid collection and exchange of data as well as by APIs that can search for and deliver data exactly where it is needed.
Consider the following examples:
The emergence of data markets has led companies to question the common “not-invented-here” attitude about data. If third parties can create and assemble valuable data, why not rent it rather than own it? If you don’t own the data, you also don’t have to maintain the data.
Data markets are also changing attitudes about data as an asset that must be kept private. While some data will clearly always be proprietary, in many cases the largest amount of value will come from sharing data and getting some new type of value in return.
Key questions for new participants to data markets include:
Modern data markets will employ a whole new generation of technology, processes, and data science that supersedes the previous generation of data management systems. These include:
The new data market model is still being evolved and accepted by the business community, but I predict over the next few years it will become the de facto standard for accessing and managing data.
Factual provides access to definitive global data for powering web and mobile apps, mobile advertising, and enterprise solutions. Using its sophisticated big data stack, Factual builds data products that leverage contributions from partners, user communities, and the web. Factual’s first offering is its Global Places suite of data and APIs, which provides access to more than 63 million places in 50 countries along with entity mapping, resolution, and geo ad-targeting services. Its second offering is its Products suite of...