More on Aggregation Versus Hosting

Previously on this blog, I've called for a separation of hosting from aggregation. I want to be able to maintain authoritative data on one site and have other sites use it for their aggregation.

When I read Ted Leung's entry Microcontent personality disorder and Steve Mallett's comments on it, my immediate thought was that they could both have what they want if we could separate where we host our data with where it is aggregated and made "social".

Marc Canter (whose work around Digital Lifestyle Aggregators is definitely worth following) responds to Steve Mallett. Marc is spot on that people have their information all over the place. But I still believe that if systems are built to support a separation between hosting and aggregation, they'll support both the distribution of primary data and the kind of "self-hosting" that a certain segment like Steve and myself want.

Bottom line is all combinations of centralized/decentralized hosting/aggregation should be possible.

It's not that hard to do. Sites that aggregate just need to provide a mechanism where users can point to their data hosted somewhere else rather than have to re-enter their data in multiple aggregators. Aggregators then keep customers based on the value of their aggregation, not the lock-in of being the hosts of people's valuable data. People who want hosting for their pictures, blogs, etc can use hosting services to do it. But their choice of hosting service should not impact their participating in aggregation and the social aspects of micro-content that follow.

UPDATE (2004-09-27): see also Jon Udell's post Next-generation infoware