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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Websites As Public Digital Content Repositories

We recently covered Paul Allen's view, Fastest Growth Sites Are Built on User Generated Content. Paul writes,one of the most powerful ways to develop web site traffic is to enable users to share their content through your web site with others-to create community around user generated content.Many of the fastest growing web sites of all time did this (or do it now): MyFamily.com, eBay, GeoCities, Xoom, Homestead, MySpace, Epinions, Hotshots, LinkedIn.com, Meetup.com, Friendster, and more.If sites are uses to get customers to blog, use message boards, upload photos or reviews, the effect shall be dazzling.With open source software (for message boards, blogs, uploading photos, and more) and with the cost of hard drive storage a tiny fraction of what it was five years ago, the time has never been better to try a user generated content strategy.

Siliconvalley reports, websites aiming to become repositories and clearinghouses for a wide variety of digital content created by the public tapping into a growing interest in so-called grass-roots media, are getting launched. Ourmedia, is offering a central place for people to upload and store any digital media they want to share with the world, including video, audio, images and text files. The service is free.The service could help content producers find new audiences for their work. And it could become a cultural archive for researchers and future generations of Internet users wanting to view history through an alternative media lens. Grassroots media has enjoyed an explosion of interest in the past year, fueled by the increased credibility of bloggers and the growing popularity of video and audio tools such as camcorders and editing software.
Content is proliferating. A video blogging Internet discussion board - which had only about 50 members in December - now has about 5,500. Podcasting has spawned thousands of amateur Internet radio shows.The Internet Archive, building its own massive digital library, has agreed to host the Ourmedia files on its Web servers. Ourmedia's free hosting is a boon to video and audio artists, who can face costly storage and bandwidth fees when they upload large media files to the Web.
The organization eventually plans to release the source code of its Web site, potentially spawning an array of similar Web sites and media repositories. The group also is talking with companies such as Yahoo and Google about hosting media files on their own servers. It wants third-party developers to build their own interfaces to its content. And the group is exploring peer-to-peer technology that would allow Ourmedia to become a gateway to media files stored on individual personal computers
Much of Ourmedia's vision is shared by another site called NowPublic, allowing everyday people to act as editors, reporters and photographers. A user submits "assignments" requesting information about a particular topic or event, and others upload video, photos or text to complete the story.With increased web activity, lowered bandwidth costs,plummeting storage costs and advancements in webservices technology coupled pioneering initiatives like this, the voluntary digital content movement is all set to grow rapidly.
Category : Emerging Technologies.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"