Profile – Planet Web 2.0

Service: Planet Web 2.0

Launched: about two weeks ago

What is it?

Planet Web 2.0 is a website (and more importantly an RSS feed) that aggregates content from web 2.0 publishers around the web. It’s a must add feed for anyone tracking web 2.0. The sources of the content are linked on the sidebar, and include TechCrunch. :-)

We first discovered the site while reading Richard MacManus’ excellent and much discussed post “On Bots and Content Creation / Aggregation” last week.

We have lots of thoughts on Richard’s post (and generally, entirely agree with him). Our feeling is Planet Web 2.0, which goes out of its way to attribute content, is going about this inevitable evolution in the right way, and we support them.

The debate on the issue of re-publishing content goes back as far as the web itself. RSS makes it even easier, of course. In fact, the entire purpose of RSS is the republishing of content. The debate centers on whether it should be republished only in RSS readers, or if it can be republished anywhere. In reality, though, what is the difference between an online RSS reader and a website? Not much, particuarly when you think about how bloglines and other readers allow sharing of feeds…

Editor’s Note: To track the “old” debate on RSS and copyright, see Jason Calcanis, Robert Scoble, and Makeyougohmm to start.

So here’s TechCrunch’s position: We like Planet Web 2.0 and think what is doing is a responsible way to promote content, while giving proper attribution to those who wrote it.

In forming our position, we noted Ian Davis’s (the creator of Planet Web 2.0) comments on Richard’s post:

“I think you’re uncovering some essential quality of content remixing that perhaps hasn’t been appreciated before. Aggregating and remixing content needs to be done with respect. We should respect the original author’s intent and also the time and effort they put into creating the content. Repurposing, passing off, non-attribution – these are all disrespectful ways to treat content and people. Hopefully I’m treating the writers with respect on Planet Web 2.0 (and other similar sites I host). Perhaps a little bit more traffic will flow to them or perhaps it’ll help people discover related writers to those they already know. Either way I appreciate the work that goes into the writing and only wish I could write half as well as those I read.”

As long as this his position, and his actions reflect his position, we’re behind him all the way.

On a related note, Nivi (another must read blog) created two aggregate feeds recently – the Venture Capital Channel and the Entrepreneur Channel. He does less attribution than Planet Web 2.0, but it’s clear that his motives are pure. We recommend both.

Planet Web 2.0 Creator:

Ian Davis

Update: I spoke with Ian Davis by email and he provided the following insights on his site:

“My motivation for setting up PW was to collect together the writings of
people I respect in this space. I wanted to understand the Web 2.0
landscape and keep abreast of new developments and applications. I
already had a small private subscription list but rather than keep keep
it to myself I decided to publish and aggregate from it. I reasoned that
if I was interested in this then there were bound to be others equally
interested. Hopefully people will come across it via people they already
read and discover other great writers. The site has only been active for
a couple of weeks – I think I registered it on the 1st July.

I’ve had a long-standing interest in open access to data, collaboration
and the semantic web. I was involved in authoring the RSS 1.0
specification back in 2000 and at the time I saw this as the first step
to an open network of data with RSS giving implied permission for reuse.
Now, with Web 2.0, I think I have an exciting opportunity to apply the
same principles to a much wider range of content and services. In fact,
I’ve just started a new role at a British company called Talis leading
development of the Silkworm project, a platform for enabling Web 2.0

I’m having a lot of fun. It feels like I’ve just discovered Mosaic for
the first time :)”

Update: There have been a couple of posts that are related to the subject of content stealing/aggregation. This first is by Fred Wilson and he calls it the “internet Access of Evil” and he quotes a Jason Calcanis email. The second is by Michael Parekh, who noticed the same site stole his content.

There is a line here, and some people choose to cross it. Really bad form.

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