Lame gimmick or wave of the future? Entrepreneur Launches Web’s First Tag Directory to Raise Money for His Wedding:
A Canadian entrepreneur wants to raise funds for his wedding by listing websites on his del.icio.us account for $20 per listing. Patrick Ryan, 37, and his fiancée have been dating for 5 years; he hopes that TagDirectory.net will attract advertisers. Advertisers will be able to list their website under as many categories (tags) as they want.
Ryan hopes to raise $250,000 from the site. So far he’s raised, er, $280, according to the ticker at the top of the directory itself. His initiative has already raised hackles among the del.icio.us community who have questioned, among other things, the size of his wedding. Turns out he’s hoping to marry in Cuba. That would explain the cost.
It seems a tad lame for several reasons. First off, I don’t really see how the idea would work. Why would anyone visit a paid directory of tags? How do you drive traffic to a site that doesn’t differentiate itself from any other website, except that some advertisers have paid to be there? Secondly, the social web is not about grabbing bucks, especially for a wedding (tsunami/hurricane/earthquake victims, maybe. A quarter of a grand would buy a few cold-weather tents, something I’m sure taggers would be interested in stumping up for. But a wedding?
Thirdly, it raises questions about the vulnerability of such services to manipulation by sleazy marketing types. As one poster to the delicious-discuss users’ group puts it: “It does bring up an important issue, though — who is to say what constitutes “good” or “bad” tagging behavior,” the poster says. In this case, he says, it’s relatively easy because the originator “publicizes his commercial use; but I’m sure there are plenty of guerilla marketing weasels out there who have been doing similar things ever since the service started.” It’s not so much about filtering out the bad ones on an individual basis, but about “the underlying manipulation/distortion of the data for applications like a recommendation or ranking engine.”
Tagging is a great technology and I suppose it would be churlish to abuse someone for trying to make money from it. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that all those tags are out there because the folk behind these services, and those who tag websites to support them, did it all, initially at least, for free. I wish Patrick Ryan a happy wedding.