Home AdaptiveBlue Feeds the Top-Down Semantic Web with Automatic SmartLinks

AdaptiveBlue Feeds the Top-Down Semantic Web with Automatic SmartLinks

AdaptiveBlue makers of the popular Firefox plugin, BlueOrganizer, has launched a new version of their SmartLinks product that makes it easy for blog and web site publishers to include the links automatically within their pages. Previously, SmartLinks were only accessible via the BlueOrganizer. Now, web site publishers can add SmartLinks to their page and the service will parse them automatically.

SmartLinks are browser popups, similar to the Snap Shots product that we use on this blog, that add additional contextual information to certain types of links, including links to books, movies, music, stocks, and wine. AdaptiveBlue supports a large list of top web sites, automatically recognizing and augmenting links to those properties.

Though the comparison to Snap’s product is inevitable, SmartLinks are fairly dissimilar. While Snap’s product adds popups to every link on the page and offers just content previews, SmartLinks are added only to the links it understands and for which is has additional information it can add. The info contained in the contextual popups generally includes links to additional sources and basic information on the everyday item being linked to. For example, a music SmartLink will contain links to the album on iTunes, Last.fm, and Amazon, links to sources for lyrics, reviews, videos, and photos as well as a brief profile of the artist.

SmartLinks also include ways to share the item being linked to on popular social sites. All the big sites, and most of the small sites, are represented, but these links are also contextual. A SmartLink popup for a book, for example, will include links to save the book on Shelfari and LibraryThing, while a SmartLink for a music artist will include links for creating stations on Last.fm or Pandora. The list of which sites are supported both within and by SmartLinks is currently controlled by AdaptiveBlue, who say they will respond to community feedback when deciding when and if to add new ones. Founder and CEO Alex Iskold told me today that the idea is not to overwhelm users, so rather than support every site under the sun, the company plans to hopefully pick and choose from among the best.

Installing SmartLinks is just a matter of copying a single line of Javascript. The company has also created 1-click installs for Blogger and TypePad, and a plugin for WordPress.

What’s in it for site owners? Beyond the added value that SmartLinks provides for users by wrapping certain links with additional contextual information, site owners can monetize the links in the popups by providing affiliate IDs (affiliate links are how AdaptiveBlue currently monetizes the service). Further, users of the BlueOrganizer addon for Firefox will benefit from added integration that makes it easier to save links to their organizer. AdaptiveBlue has a “try before you buy” preview on their web site that allows publishers to see what their sites would look like with SmartLinks enabled.

In the title I mentioned the Top-Down Semantic Web, which is something that Alex Iskold has written about on this blog. Alex is eating his own dog food, so to speak, by releasing a product that buys directly into the concept. AdaptiveBlue’s SmartLinks essentially works in the way that Alex described the Top-Down Semantic Web, by understanding specific types of information (in this case links) and wrapping them with additional data. SmartLinks takes unstructured information and turns it into structured information by understanding a basic item on the web and adding semantics to it.

Full disclosure: AdaptiveBlue Founder and CEO Alex Iskold is a regular contributor to Read/WriteWeb, and AdaptiveBlue is currently a sponsor of this site.

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