Placeblogger and the Open Directory

It was great to see all the links and write-ups that Lisa William’s Placeblogger received; there was one aspect of the service that I’m very interested in that I didn’t have a chance to get into in my earlier post, that I want to talk about now, and that is the open source, structured directory aspect of the service.
In an interview with ClickZ for a story about the service, I said: “I would like to see Placeblogger become the geographical equivalent of something that was powerful early on; the open directory, the first peer-edited, user generated directory for search. DMOZ became the semantic structure for all the search structures that Yahoo and Google used, and it was open source. Placeblogger has an opportunity to become an open source user generated directory of local sites and services.”
To expand on that idea, IMHO Placeblogger could evolve into a meta-directory of local sites with a series of regional advisors who funnel sites into the (highly structured) database, a dedicated core of Placebloggers who supply feeds and new links, an API that allows redistribution, mash-ups and new product development, a Creative Commons license that supports third-party–and commercial development–and the means to be one of the platform tools fuleing a new wave of local–and potentially self-service advertising platforms, targeted right down to the zip code.
It’s no accident that, one of my very favorite locally-focused search/display products, was co-founded by folks who were part of the Open Directory team, but now, as a privately owned service, Topix has their own plans for world domination–or at least, product excellence, that do not (to my kmowledge) focus on platforms and open source.
My hope is that Placeblogger, in its own (admittedly) smaller and more hand-crafted way, can take some lessons from the Open Directory and become the core resource for blogs and other data sources with very specific local identities, affinites, and services. (And just think of how such a service can fit with yellow pages and other enhanced directories, especially when you factor in the community services….)