Invite code available at bottom of the article!
Infochimps has been open for a year or so now, the company is making a big announcement at the DEMOfall 09 conference today. Now, in addition to simply being one of the best sources for finding raw data online, you're able to share your data - or even list it for sale - through new site features which the company hopes will encourage businesses to open up their commercial datasets to the world.Although the data repository
Infochimps originally caught our eye back in April of 2008 when it made our list of the best places to find open data on the web. The beauty of this site, which is essentially a specialized search engine for raw data, is that it makes finding relevant data much easier than if you tried to do so using a traditional search engine like Google. For example, a query for "music" returned, among other things, a listing for Last.fm Artist Tags from 2007. A similar search on Google wouldn't pull in that link until you hit the 42nd page of search results. In other words, you would never find it on Google.
At Infochimps, data can either be hosted on site in a standard format like CSV, XML, or YAML, or it can simply point to an external source. While the data itself cannot be manipulated on the site, the metadata like the description and tags can be edited by anyone who creates an account at Infochimps.org. The site founders have seeded the site with some data already - like the data from the comprehensive knowledge archive network - but the majority of the data is user-submitted. They've also partnered with Amazon to share Infochimps data with Amazon's Public Data Sets service. To date, one-third of Amazon's Public Data Sets were contributed by Infochimps.
New Announcements: Sell and Share Your Data
Today, the company is opening up and allowing anyone to upload their own datasets. The data can be any raw data that has an open license. To get started, users just upload it to the site and Infochimps will then handle the storage and distribution. Also, for any truly valuable data, be that commercial data a company wants to share or some sort of data manipulation - like editing awful census data into a format for use with MySQL databases - users can now charge for downloads, too. The price for the dataset can be set to any amount, however Infochimps makes its money by taking a 20% cut of all data sold.
There really isn't a company that's doing anything like Infochimps. Amazon's Public Data Sets comes close, but isn't nearly as extensive. And although other repositories of data exist, (Archive.org and the newly launched Data.gov come to mind), these resources focus on one particular type of data as opposed to providing a search engine for all data.
Those who have data to share or sell can now do so as of today: just visit Infochimps.org to get started. ReadWriteWeb readers who use this service can use the code RWWrocks to get in.