JPG Introduces “Hotness,” I Hope Yahoo Doesn’t Sue Their Ass

[I am CEO of Zooomr]

JPG Magazine: Blog: Introducing Hotness Well our good friends over at JPG Magazine introduced a cool new feature on their site today. it’s called Hotness “because interestingness was taken” (their words).

Hotness basically uses the social activity around the photos on their site, “votes, views, and more,” to share with members of the JPG community some of the best shots being uploaded per an “algorithm” that they created.

Which I think is friggin’ *awesome*. I love the fact that members of the JPG community can have their votes and other activity used to show me even more interesting photos on their site. I love JPG magazine and think it is one of the cooolest sites on the internet today.

We have actually built something similar in Zooomr Mark III that we will release shortly called awesomeness.

The problem?

Well Yahoo would like every site on the internet everywhere to not be allowed to aggregate their user data this way. I’ve blogged about this before. Yahoo has filed an application for a patent on their concept of “Interestingness.” To read more negative responses to this BS patent feel free to check out these articles by Boing Boing and Slashdot on the situation.

From Yahoo’s BS patent application:

“Media objects, such as images or soundtracks, may be ranked according to a new class of metrics known as “interestingness.” These rankings may be based at least in part on the quantity of user-entered metadata concerning the media object, the number of users who have assigned metadata to the media object, access patterns related to the media object, and/or a lapse of time related to the media object.”
You can read more details on this patent here.

Hmmmm… lets see.

Is JPG serving up “media objects such as images?”

Yes.

Is JPG using “at least in part the quantity of user-entered metadata concerning the media object”?

Well, Yes.

So then I guess Yahoo can sue them. Sure digg, reddit, YouTube and many other sites also do the same thing — and prior art does exist before Yahoo decided to own all social activity on every web site in the world. But, hey, why not try to screw over the rest of the Web 2.0 community and try to play God with how social media can be arranged outside your own domain.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Yahoo’s bogus attempt to patent the concept of ranking social media is simply ludicrous. They should rescend the patent application for Interesetingness and publicly state that the ranking of media doesn’t belong to anyone. Instead they silently “carry on” proving to the small companies everywhere that all the Kumbayas in the world from Flickr won’t change the fact that bottom line Yahoo is about screwing over any other social networks who dare to compete with them in the glorious pursuit of the almighty dollar.

I don’t mind Flickr patenting their specific mixture and formula for ranking their photos, but when they try to patent all ranking formulas everywhere they cross a line that they shouldn’t.

I’d be interested if anyone has an update on the status of this patent application or knows how to track these kinds of things. I seriously hope it is not approved by the US Patent office. Otherwise sites like JPG may quickly find their “hottness” getting them into “hot water,” when Yahoo sues their ass.

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5 Comments

  1. Personally I don’t think Yahoo has a leg to stand on with that patent filing. Photosig and Photo.net have been highlighting photos on their site based on interest and time since the mid-to late 90’s. That functionality has been in the public domain for sometime.

    To be blunt and with all respect I find the terminology for the functionality lame. Interestingness is marketing jibberish and I should know I’m a marketing guy. My recommendation ditch “awesomeness” and go with “Zooomr’s Best” because thats what it will be. There’s no refuting that in court, but personally I don’t think it’ll ever come to that.

  2. Thomas –

    I’m interested in this as it hits WAY close to home. See I’m putting together a certain something (Robert’s in the know) here in Tulsa. Nearly got my tail sued due to a “patent pending” situation where the applicant came on VERY blustery, threatening, etc.

    I’m still not so sure an applicant can do much in the way of legal action particularly when their application is not considered novel (even when it falls within the ‘process’ category). Sure, a Yahoo! can posture big and intimidate. But, do they REALLY have grounds BEFORE the patent is issued? I’m bootstrapping and didn’t have the means to find out for myself. Fortunately, problem solved itself and the guy landed himself in the penetentiary (what goes around comes around). Might make a good story some day!

    Question for you: Did you worry much up front about IP as you’ve been putting Zooomr together? Or, did you just charge right on in there?

    Gerald, aka gWHIZ, Tulsa

  3. lisa says:

    hotness sounds much better. its much intersting than “intersting’. agree?? haha

    make money online

  4. That’s the biggest peace of BS I have ever heard. Why don’t they issue a pattent for life itself.

  5. I dont think JPG has anything to worry about, I think Heather Champ has Derek Powazek’s back.