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« The Inconvenience of the Principles Approach | Main | Google, Government, GMail, GBuy, Gee Whiz »

June 14, 2006


Ed Batista

Hi Paul,
Great post. I'm the Executive Director of AttentionTrust--let me clear up a few points: We're a nonprofit, not a for-profit company. Seth Goldstein, co-founder of AttentionTrust and CEO of Root Markets, has discussed "attention bonds" metaphorically, but I'm not aware of anyone who's actually issued any to date, and we certainly haven't.

And let me try to cut through some of the intellectual clutter surrounding "attention." In an information economy, measures of attention determine value. We've had an "attention economy" for decades in the form of newspaper and magazine circulation figures, and TV's Nielsen numbers. Online, of course, we're able to understand what's capturing our attention in a much more sophisticated way. We have a fully functioning attention economy today--every online retailer with a recommendation system uses the data generated by your purchases and page views to promote products and services you're likely to be interested in. And every search engine looks at how your respond to the objects they deliver to tweak their algorithms (and generate more ad revenue.) So please don't be put off by the terminology.

I happen to be a big believer in Goldhaber's theories, but you needn't be to recognize that attention data has value and has the potential to transform the way we live, work and interact with each other. "Attention services" could parse this data in order to help us manage our time more effectively, deliver more relevant content to our aggregators and inboxes, and introduce us to people who share our interests. And that's just a start.

Thanks for your interest in the subject--I look forward to hearing more.

Ed Batista
Executive Director, AttentionTrust

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