In the Internet world there are only two valuable assets - the database and the userbase. And both are hard to acquire. Recently, we have been struggling to create formidable databases in certain domains, and the cost to build and maintain those are pretty high. Even with the sophistication of technology that are practically available and reachable, applied on freely available - “public domain” - data, I am hardly satisfied with the quality of results (I being the perfectionist part of me).
A few recent acquisitions by Google and similar companies underline this even more - two or three “red” underlines. Human curation of data is still important. We are yet to build a machine that beats human brain. Maybe Google is half-way through, but it took us so many technology-years to reach the half-way mark.
And when you have the database, its potential is realized through a userbase. Without the userbase, the database is like money buried under the tree. It is not useful, and mostly it is going to be devalued over time.
Today, as I observe, getting the database coupled with the right userbase is the secret to the success of an internet business. Better, if the userbase owns the database. Crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing, effectively done. Run a search for Wikipedia in Google News. How many have you seen succeeding in crowdsourcing? How many Google services are crowd-sourced? Have they succeeded?