Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Attention Wars

"Cry 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of war"
-William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)

Cry of 'Havoc' has been made. The dogs of war are loose. The Attention Wars have begun.

The Attention Wars have come about because of the shifting power relationships in the digital world as people seek to grab the last scarcity: attention. It is too early to predict the winners or loosers. The blogsphere will pontificate on the strategies and the likelihood of success. But no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Many will predict that the GYMAAE (or GAAMEY) group will dominate and that one or more of the group will ultimately win. But fate is a fickle creature. The open source community has the potential to throw a massive spanner in the works. There is no reason that that the open source community could not develop an attention stack mcuh as they did with the LAMP stack that underpins much of the GYMAAE business. The ground work already exists through the Attention Trust and Seth Goldstein's Root.Net market.

IBM, Technorati and News Corp are other players that will be involved. All three companies have both the drive and vision to become major players in the attention sphere. IBM could easily become the corporate champion of an open attention platform. Technorati is already an attention service, but how will the evolve to build on what they have? What will be Rupert Murdoch's aim be? Be a buyer or a mediator or both?

As ever with Fickle Fate, a new player could easily sweep the field.

Like any war the strategies of the protagonists will differ but the ultimate goal remains the same: to mediate between those who want the attention and those who provide the attention.

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