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GoodRelations - The Web Vocabulary for E-Commerce

This is the archive of the goodrelations dicussion list

GoodRelations is a standardized vocabulary for product, price, and company data that can (1) be embedded into existing static and dynamic Web pages and that (2) can be processed by other computers. This increases the visibility of your products and services in the latest generation of search engines, recommender systems, and other novel applications.

[goodrelations] Structured e-commerce data: Helping your customers vs. helping your competitors

Martin Hepp martin.hepp at ebusiness-unibw.org
Thu Dec 2 21:14:38 CET 2010

Dear all:

I recently tried to reply to a blogpost that was critical of using  
Google's Rich Snippet functionality. Since I think my arguments may be  
of general relevance, I post them here, too:

I think you are overly pessimistic about the potential of exposing  
structured data regarding your products or services. Clearly, while  
informing potential customers you are also making it easier for your  
competitors to analyze you. However, please keep in mind the following  

1. Not being visible with all the details of your offer is always  
worse than being visible for both your potential customers and your  
competitors; nowadays, you can never survive by shying away from the  
public but just by having a different value proposition than your  

2. Structured data, e.g. GoodRelations in RDFa, helps keeping your  
value proposition intact when publishing it on the WWW. Instead of  
being reduced to just the price tag, the many ways in which you are  
different from your competitors remain accessible for search engines  
and novel recommender systems - e.g. stock availability, warranty,  
payment and delivery methods, or product features.

3. It is fairly easy for your competitors to analyze you even if you  
do not publish your offer data in RDFa. They can simply hire staff in  
low-labor countries or go via Amazon's Mechanical Turk service that  
will collect and consolidate what's on your Web page anyway. But your  
prospective customers cannot go that route, so you are putting much  
more friction on the matchmaking with potential clients than  
protecting yourself against your competition. So it is really about  
helping search engines to help prospective customers to find you.

Best wishes

Martin Hepp

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