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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] GoodRelations & Schema.org

Martin Hepp martin.hepp at ebusiness-unibw.org
Mon Jun 6 08:31:00 CEST 2011

Dear all:

You may have seen that Google, Yahoo, and Bing have just released a single Microdata-based data schema for adding rich data to Web sites.

I am in the process of writing a more detailed analysis and recommendations, but just as a quick sketch:

1. Both Google and Yahoo have stressed that they continue to accept GoodRelations.

2. Surprisingly, Bing has announced on the very day (!) on which they joined the "rich snippets movemenent", that they will support GoodRelations in the future:


3. Currently, GoodRelations in RDFa syntax is the only way of feeding Google and Yahoo with W3C-valid markup (XHTML+RDFa1.0). All other formats, including HTML5 Microdata, do, at this point, NOT validate.

As for their motivation, I think that Google had hoped for a greater adoption of rich snippet data in either hproduct/hlisting, GoodRelations, or Microdata syntax since their announcement in November, 2010. They may also have the hope of simplifying their task of processing rich data by imposing more constraints on the data patterns by their sheer market power.

However, I am confident that Schema.org will NOT fly, for the following reasons:

1. The new schema.org Microdata format for products is basically the very same proposed by Google in parallel to their support of GoodRelations in November 2, 2011. I do not have data at hand, but I am pretty confident that more people used either hProduct/hListing or GoodRelations in RDFa than the Google Microdata syntax.

I am totally unconvinced that, with a Google market share of up to 90 % in most countries, the bundling of forces with Bing and Yahoo will fundamentally change the adoption. If Webmasters were not enthusiastic about the Google Microdata syntax described at


why should they suddenly adopt it eagerly from


? Nothing else has changed.

2. The main bottlenecks for the bit slow adoption of rich data in Web content in general are:

a) The fact that Google tolerates, but not officially mandates RDFa in snippet-style [1], which would break up the complexity caused by mixing the organization of visible content and data structures.
Also, RDFa in snippet-style makes it a lot easier to write extension modules for popular shop software.

b) The fact that Google white-lists rich snippets for pages overly slow, so it takes months for many pages until they see the effect of rich data in the form of rich snippets. 

c) Data modeling is inherently more complex that "hobby" HTML development, i.e. writing a bit of markup and then validating whether it looks as you like it. Modern Web technology is difficult - Javascript, AJAX, SQL, HTML5 - all that has raised the bar for participation.

The new Microdata syntax proposal does not take away this complexity. In fact, adopting the new markup manually is way more difficult than creating a GoodRelations snippet using the Snippet Generator at


There is more to say on this, but at this point it is definitely save to stick to GoodRelations in RDFa syntax.

Best wishes


[1] Hepp, Martin; García, Roberto; Radinger, Andreas: RDF2RDFa: Turning RDF into Snippets for Copy-and-Paste, Technical Report TR-2009-01, 2009.

PDF at

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