Jigsaw: Even Opt Out Would be a Step Up

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I’m with Michael Arrington on this one. As much as I’ve railed against Jigsaw, I could deal with the existence of this company if they gave me even a token amount of respect…and oddly enough, granting that respect could make their business a lot better. Consider this radical idea:

Joe Salesperson uploads his contacts into Jigsaw. Each of those contacts then gets an email saying “Joe Salesperson would like to make your contact information available to others via Jigsaw. Click here to confirm that the contact information listed below is correct, and to make your information public.” [If you like, you can also imagine that the information will automatically become public after X days, though I’d prefer not.]

Ideally there’s also a link right there in the email that allows me to reject the request (and all other similar requests forever and ever, amen), but that’s probably asking too much, isn’t it?

In any case, think about what this does for Jigsaw and GIGO, which has to be a huge issue for them. If that email bounces, they immediately know that the information is garbage in, and that the source of the contact may be sketchy. Don’t post the contact, and flag the provider for review. On the other hand, if all of Joe Salesperson’s contacts actively confirm their information, then all that contact info can be listed as “confirmed,” and Joe can get extra-special Jigsaw points for being a good citizen.

So Jigsaw gets to immediately and automagically reduce the garbage out of their system, as well as getting some useful metadata on which of their users are genuinely putting something useful into the system. I also get a couple of things out of this: I become a participant in the process, rather than a piece of meat. I know who wants to put my information into this system, and I have the ability to remove myself from that system if I so choose.

Putting all of these things together, you end up with a Jigsaw that contains contact information that is accurate and represents people who will likely be more receptive to sales calls, because those people already know that they’re listed in Jigsaw.

Not that I think that’ll happen, or anything.

Lunchtime Musings: Smart Guy Deathmatch

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Disney/ABC decides to offer some popular programming online, for free.

Techdirt’s Carlo says good first step, in that they’re finally doing something. Umair “Bubblegeneration” Haque says bad, bad idea, in that this first step is strategically the wrong place to start.

With two of my key sources for stealing good ideas disagreeing with one another, I’m pretty much screwed for coming up with my own opinion. My suggestion is that you all read both posts and the associated links, and give it some thought.

I’ll be doing that this evening…mostly as an exercise to clear my head of the image of Carlo and Umair fighting it out like Captain Kirk and Spock on that old episode of Star Trek. [Admit it, you know the one I’m talking about — the one with the excellent fight music.]

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The New York Times Redesign: Keep Watching

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Khoi Vinh says that the redesign of The New York Times site isn’t (for the most part) his doing, and as much as I respect his work I can believe it. Hiring an excellent architect/designer was a key step for the NYT, but it feels like that was just one step in a much larger online plan.

If you take a look at the hiring that the NYT has been working on recently for their online arm, rather than “Code Monkey, Grade II” and “Reporter who Knows Some HTML,” you see titles like “Creative Technologist” and “Futurist.”

While funky job titles are one of the things that I don’t miss much about Boom 1.0, in this case the titles point to some interesting thinking happening at the Grey Lady. The NYT seems to have made the leap to thinking about what they can do if they consider themselves as a company that uses technology (including printing presses, of course) to accumulate and distribute information, rather than as a newspaper that needs to have a Web site on Teh Internet.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

Update: Even faster than Microsoft…the NYT seems to be keeping an eye on what people have to say about their redesign. This post went live at 09:21 AM, and the NYT came by for a looksee at 10:14 AM.

Date: 3 Apr 2006 10:15:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sea Monkey Watch
To: seamonkey@absono.us
Subject: Visitor - The New York Times

199.181.174.146 came by for a visit at 03/Apr/2006:10:14:11.

Thought you'd want to know, because...

OrgName:    The New York Times

...looks like...

new york times