Yet another Austin-based company launching at DEMO this week is Infochimps. They launched a new marketplace where users can upload and sell their datasets to potential buyers such as researchers or application developers. Infochimps customers control the terms, set the price, and Infochimps handles storage, distribution and billing. Infochimps takes a commission from each sale in the marketplace and also provides a separate, free service where anyone can upload, share and curate the data on the site.
The marketplace gets very interesting when you consider how users can utilize some of the datasets, and even connect one dataset to another. For instance, the company cited a dataset that shows where parking meters are located in Bethesda, MD, how much they cost per hour, and the frequency of tickets issued on each individual meter. That type of data could, of course, make a very interesting iPhone app. Infochimps can also connect each dataset to every other dataset in the collection based on relevance and applicability. In doing so, the company makes it possible for customers to create a lot of value out of previously latent data with cross-segmentation.
Infochimps is certainly tapping into very valuable real estate with their marketplace. There’s no shortage of latent data out there, and juggernauts such as Hadoop have already proven that there is an incredible appetite for technology that makes these large datasets more manageable for developers and useful for end-users. Infochimps intends to make the datasets more accessible and enables their community to come up with the innovative uses for the data.