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Mashpedia and Zomobo, the real back story in realtime search

mashpedia 300x205 Mashpedia and Zomobo, the real back story in realtime search I’m a Mashpedia fan.

I’ve been a fan since back in April 2010, when I first posted about its coolness for aggregating real-time content and its availability in multiple languages.  Since then I’ve been sharing it with my students and gushing about its value at conferences.

So I was intrigued when I discovered Zomobo this week.  I was also intrigued by the strange familiarity of the opening interface. In fact, I wondered if Mashpedia had opted for a name change.

When I did my first search on a current interest of mine, the super hot trending topic Google+, I was not surprised to discover that Mashpedia gathered relevant and current content from the usual wide and varied feeds.

I expected the same of Zomobo.  In fact, Google+ did not seem to be on Zomobo’s radar at all.  And, instead of the usual list of trending topics, Zomobo appeared to have a kind of goofy, random list of topics.

Perhaps my expectations of these similar looking tools were unfair.  One bills itself as a dynamic content aggregator, the other as a real-time encyclopedia.

mashpedia5 300x123 Mashpedia and Zomobo, the real back story in realtime search zomobo1 300x224 Mashpedia and Zomobo, the real back story in realtime searchAnyway, I tweeted early (prematurely?).

And I got a nice tweet greeting from Juan Sosa, Executive Director at Mashpedia. I asked him what was up with that newcomer Zomobo and those similarities and disappointments.

Juan surprised me with a very interesting back story regarding intellectual property in the world of search.

Here’s the email Juan gave me permission to share:

Dear Joyce,

Thanks again for your continuing interest in Mashpedia.  It was good you decided to contact me beforehand of writing your article.

This week we learned about the launching last July 1 of Zomobo, which we found to be blatantly copying many things from Mashpedia, from our HTML files to graphic design to programming scripts to our slogan and even our “About” description, which is clear violation of our intellectual property rights and a offense to the internet community in general.

Please note: We’re not only talking about just stealing an idea here, which is a common practice today and would be a more intricate position to defend. It’s a shameless copying of the entire development and marketing of a product.
Moreover, they’re at least misleading people making them think they’re something similar to an encyclopedia. They can copy many digital materials from us from the code available on the web, but they can’t (at least it’s much more complicated) replicate the core of our application which is safely stored in our server. So the execution is very different: they provide a content page for ANY combination of terms, more similar to a search engine than to an encyclopedia. Instead, Mashpedia only provides an article if the entry is an specific topic (actually Mashpedia uses Wikipedia open databases to make this possible). Here’s some examples of this:
In Zomobo you will get a content page for ANY combination of terms (even if they’re not encyclopedic topics):
Mashpedia, instead, for these same key words, informs you that there’s not available article for that term and provides you with a list of similar topics:
Besides, their front page is filled with an arbitrary list of terms, a sign of their poor execution, instead Mashpedia every day updates its list of trending topics in the front page, according to an editorial selection of the most relevant and popular topics on the news.
Hence, for how it works, Zomobo is more like a search engine than an encyclopedia, so they’re not only fraudulently copying other’s digital materials, but they’re confusing people about what they actually provide.
I already sent Zomobo a letter demanding them to remove their content, which I will forward to you in a separate email.
Needless to say it’s been a hard week for us. We are already thinking about changing our slogan, or our product speech, although to tell you the truth it’s not easy to take those decisions, but their damage is done and we don’t want people to be confused.
Sure thing is we’ll keep working hard to make Mashpedia always better, we have very nice features coming soon and many more ideas to improve the experience of our users, I’ll keep you posted.
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Have a nice day and weekend icon smile Mashpedia and Zomobo, the real back story in realtime search

Sincerely,

Juan Sosa
Executive Director
MASHPEDIA
THE REAL-TIME ENCYCLOPEDIA

Juan, I am so sorry about your hard week and I hope you will continue the Mashpedia project without major changes in your branding!  My learners and my colleagues rely on your tool for media-rich realtime results.

I think that librarians can help you spread the word about this story. If I were in school right now, I would use your story to discuss intellectual property issues with my students–how not all mash-ups are worth celebrating.

Librarians, please help Juan share the word!

I welcome a response from Zomobo, if this story is in anyway inaccurate.

*******************************

And, forgive me for taking up so much space, but if you need a little convincing about this issue, simply take a look at these About page similarities!

Mashpedia’s About page:

Mashpedia is a Dynamic Content Aggregator that pulls content from different online services in real-time, offering a complete and fresh outlook about (almost) any topic.

Every time you query Mashpedia, it loads information and digital contents from many online sources and then organize them in an easy-to-use interface. At Mashpedia you’ll find fresh data and digital media from Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs, Books, Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Social Answers and more online resources.

Why use Mashpedia?

Mashpedia aims to simplify the access to information and content stored in different sites, reducing the time it takes to find relevant and fresh information on the internet.

  • Access the freshest information and multimedia content about almost any subject, person, place or event in one single place.
  • Complete research tasks quickly and easily.
  • Get a multi-perspective vision and real-time context for every topic.
  • Eliminate the need to visit different online resurces separately.
  • Obtain new information each day – even if you are looking at the same article.
  • Visualize multimedia and social-media content related to every topic.
  • Embrace a didactic, intuitive, holistic approach to learning.
  • Discover new, relevant content about your favorite topics and interests.
  • Mashpedia offers a fun and engaging learning experience.
  • Topics research is moving from being “stateless” to being very much in the here and now

What is NOT Mashpedia?

Mashpedia is not a Search Engine: Mashpedia provides content only for specific topics such as concepts, subjects, personalities, events, places, companies, products, etc., but not for broader, unspecific searches.

Examples of valid topics (that are good for you to look for on Mashpedia)
New Media
|   Cloud Computing |   Sao Paulo |   Mark Zuckerberg |   Rafael Nadal |   iPhone |   Greenpeace |   World War II |   William Shakespeare |   Barenaked Ladies

Examples of broader searches (that you should better search for on Google, Bing, etc.)
‘coldplay lyrics’   |   ‘apartments in chicago’   |   ‘download iphone apps’   |   ‘paris hotels prices’

Practical applications for Mashpedia

There’s endless possible practical uses for mashpedia, here’s some of them:

• Journalism

• Academic Tasks

• Research

• Educational Projects

• Brand Monitoring

• Marketing

• Stay up-to-date with current news and events

• Product sentiment analysis

• Trends

• Social Research

• Competitive analysis

• Markets Intelligence

• Strategic Business Information

• As a key resource for Information Specialists

Zomobo’s About page:

In short: It’s a Real-time Encyclopedia, where you can enter a topic title and instantly get related digital contents from multiple sources (e.g. Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Books, Newspapers, Magazines) all at once.

A bit more explained: Zomobo is a web application structured thematically around topics, like in an encyclopedia, enhanced with a set of features and interactive functions. It integrates contents loaded from different online sources under one single interface, providing a wide spectrum of digital contents and up-to-the-minute data. For every valid topic, Zomobo presents a list of modules with content loaded in real-time from multiple web services, categorized by media type or data source. By jumping modules, you’ll find fresh data and digital media from Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs, Books, Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Social Answers and additional online resources

Why use Zomobo?

Zomobo aims to simplify the access to information and content stored in different sites, reducing the time it takes to find relevant and fresh information on the internet.

• Access the freshest information and multimedia content about almost any subject, person, place or event in one single place.

• Complete research tasks quickly and easily.

• Get a multi-perspective vision and real-time context for every topic.

• Eliminate the need to visit different online resurces separately.

• Obtain new information each day – even if you are looking at the same article.

• Visualize multimedia and social-media content related to every topic.

• Embrace a didactic, intuitive, holistic approach to learning.

• Discover new, relevant content about your favorite topics and interests.

• Zomobo offers a fun and engaging learning experience.

• Topics research is moving from being “stateless” to being very much in the here and now

What is NOT Zomobo?

Zomobo is not a Search Engine: Zomobo provides content only for specific topics such as concepts, subjects, personalities, events, places, companies, products, etc., but not for broader, unspecific searches.

Examples of valid topics (that are good for you to look for on Zomobo)
New Media
|   Cloud Computing |   Sao Paulo |   Mark Zuckerberg |   Rafael Nadal |   iPhone 5 |   Greenpeace |   World War II |   William Shakespeare |   Barenaked Ladies

http://mashpedia.es (en español)
http://mashpedia.com.br
(em português)
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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

Comments

  1. Sherri Mancusi says:

    For several years, I have used your New Tools Workshop wiki as a great source – and it has been hacked. :( Is there a replacement?

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