Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feet in Cement

I am reading Farhad Manjoo's analysis of how Netflix won't let him leave. I have to ask myself what he would think if he knew about the amount of data we enter into Second Life, and how there is no place to move it too. Many of us have invested hundreds of dollars in second life content. In part because second life is still in a highly proprietary stage. Ulitmately that is what LL has on us right now: it is very hard to leave.

And Steve Swasey, a spokesman for Netflix, told me that the company would oppose any such effort. The data that people put into Netflix is "proprietary" information, he says; though each customer controls his individual ratings, every rating is used to fuel Netflix's recommendations engine, and that engine is a competitive advantage for Netflix. Trying to pull out your ratings after you've enjoyed the recommendations "is like asking for your money back from Disneyland after you've enjoyed the rides," Swasey told me. (Blockbuster also does not offer a way to export your queue and ratings to other services.)

The Second Life web page may say that this is "owned" by its residents, but that simply isn't so. I can't back up my inventory. I can't back up my builds easily, and I can't move them to another provider, the way I could with a blog.

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