InfoRocket: Auctioning Answers LO22693

Walter Derzko (
Sat, 18 Sep 1999 02:16:13 -0700

Dear List members

I ran across InfoRocket which is setting up an auction site for Q &
A's.....interesting concept....what do you think? (press release below)

Walter Derzko
tetrad on Q&A auction

Tetrad-( a tool invented by M McLuhan that explores consequences of any new

InfoRocket sells answers to questions from the highest bidder

[moving up the DIKW information(data in
context)--your comments re consequences welcome

[Host's Note: DIKW? Probably Data->Info->Knowledge->Wisdom ..Rick]

My thoughts re consequences using McLuhan's tetrad model

Tetrad on Q&A auction

=What does this enhance?
-the flow up the DIKW continuum,
-opportunity space formed by infoglut

=What does this obsolesce?
-The distinction /separation/knowledge gap btw the revered expert,
consultant, the guru and the rest of us
-set price for data according to seller

=What does this retrieve?
-Lay public as info brokers,
-everyone's an expert
-variable, floating price for data, according to bidder

=What does this flip into?
-info in a sea of data is free if you can find it...timely advice (data
/info in context, that addresses my Question) is valuable

Walter Derzko

09/09/99- Updated 10:40 AM ET
Site to auction information
By Kevin Maney, USA TODAY

An unannounced start-up -- funded by three top venture capital firms --
plans to launch a groundbreaking and controversial Web site that promises
to be an eBay for information and advice, allowing anyone to buy and sell
answers to questions over the Internet.

The company, called InfoRocket, will launch this fall. InfoRocket is
creating a stir in technology circles because it could be the next hot
concept and because it raises questions about veracity, copyright
protection and liability.

Guy Kawasaki of, an investor in InfoRocket, calls InfoRocket
one of the coolest companies he's ever seen. The other investors are
red-hot Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Prospect Street Ventures. Not everyone
in tech is smitten, though. "I find it puzzling that people would pay for
those (answers), especially the subjective stuff," says Christine
Comaford of Artemis Ventures.

How InfoRocket will work:

Post a question and the amount you're willing to pay for the info.

The question could be factual (How many TVs were sold in China in 1998?)
or subjective (What's the best place to go dancing in Wichita?).

Anyone can bid to answer. The person will provide information on why he or
she is qualified. If both parties agree, the answer is sent to the
questioner, who pays the person who answered. If you're not satisfied with
the answer, you can refuse to pay.

The site will build up eBay-style mechanisms for self-policing. Answers
get a grade from 1 to 4, with comments. Questioners get rated by those who
sell them answers. As ratings build, buyers and sellers can be more sure
of what they're getting, InfoRocket says.

Top-rated answers will get posted in an archive and the author will get
payments every time someone downloads that answer. Also, if you see a
question you think a friend could answer, you can pass it on via e-mail
with one click.

InfoRocket is aiming first at the mass market, not business. The company
is counting on people becoming addicted to the site as they browse for
questions they can answer and buy bits of information.

There are hurdles ahead, though. "Copyright and liability are our two
biggest issues," says Matt Cassin, an InfoRocket founder. If someone
privately sells an answer that contains research done at work, that could
violate copyright rules. If someone posts an answer that, for instance,
leads to an injury, that could trigger a lawsuit. Cassin says InfoRocket
has mechanisms in place to limit those problems.

Walter Derzko
Director Brain Space
(formerly the Idea Lab at
the Design Exchange)
(416) 588-1122


"Walter Derzko" <>

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