It is a sad, sad day for word lovers’ around the world. Scrabble has announced it is adding slang words to their dictionary. I think I’d like to challenge that.
The economics of the Web have reversed the original business model for online information upon which businesses like LexisNexis and Dialog were built. Through those services, users paid up to $4 for individual articles from daily newspapers that originally cost 25 cents on the newsstand. That model is obviously dead today, where the cost of an individual article – even articles from leading trade magazines and scholarly journals – is effectively zero. Does that mean that publishers, aggregators, and other content owners should police the Web to insure their content is not freely distributed? Not at all – one needs only look at the recent case of Wikileaks to see that it will be impossible to keep any content from showing up freely on the Web. As they say, the Genie is already out of the bottle, so the only logical step is figuring out how to make money in the current environment. This is where taxonomies can add value – by enabling the creation of new information products that connect disparate pieces of content with high-value applications and new markets.