July 23, 2003


Splinters Into 10 Competing Efforts

West Filabucket, CT /DenounceNewswire/ -- 23 July 2003 -- The project to design and deploy the "Friend of a Friend" social networking protocol, known by the acronym FOAF, has lost steam amid organizational infighting and competitive pressures. FOAF organizers expect the project to shut down or at least go on hold for the forseeable future.

The FOAF project was launched only a few months ago as a technology enabling computer enthusiasts to publicly share their personal network of friends and acquaintances. Envisioned as a way for people to publish personal information and relationships in a machine-readable standard format, the protocol showed promise initially but then lost ground when the elite A-list members of the blogging community could not agree on exactly what should be in the protocol and what should not.

"It sounded like a great idea," says Joi Ito, the popular jet-setting blogger and venture capitalist, "but I was uncomfortable with sharing my personal network with just anybody." Instead, Ito has launched the Joi Luck Club, or JLC for short, which anyone can apply for membership in by submitting their list of friends and explaining, in a ten-page essay, how their membership in JLC will benefit Joi Ito.

Dave Winer, a long-time software entrepreneur and pioneer in blogging, has also distanced himself from FOAF, instead launching SOD, or Supporters of Dave, a protocol for indicating to Winer who likes him and who doesn't. SOD is based in yet another new post-XML protocol, this one known as DRIB (Dave's RSS Is Best). DRIB was developed earlier this year by a group known as REEL (RSS Eats Echo's Lunch), a loose-knit group of programmers unhappy with the rise of Echo, a competitor to the RSS protocol upon which much of the blogging world is currently based.

Also splintering off from the FOAF project are LOAF (Loners Only, Absent Friends -- a group complaining that not everyone has friends and that FOAF is elitist); FOAM (Friend of a Machine -- a protocol for computer enthusiasts who don't like FOAF or LOAF, but have close working relationships with machines in lieu of human friends); FONO (Friends of No One, a group whose mission is to block all FOAF requests and treat them as spam); BOAF (Boss of a Friend, a protocol proposed by managers at various Silicon Valley companies); POAP (Phriend of a Phriend, a clone of FOAF specifically for Phish fans); FOKK (Friend of KottKe, meaning a person who claims to be a friend of renowned blogger Jason Kottke); FOBB (Friend of Boing Boing -- a group of bloggers claiming to be "in' with Cory Doctorow, Mark Frauenfelder, Xeni Jardin, and the other maintainers of the popular Boing Boing blog); and FOX (Friend of Xeni, a group dissatisfied with FOBB but still friendly with Xeni). Posted by denounce on July 23, 2003 10:48 PM

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