In his post Betty Dylan, Railroad Tavern, Sunday 8PM Jon Udell writes

I wondered why online services like upcoming.org hadn't yet gone viral, and I made a few suggestions, which were well received. But to be honest, the Keene, NH metro in Upcoming is no more lively now -- a day after Yahoo acquired Upcoming -- than it was six months ago.

Case in point: the Betty Dylan band is coming to Keene on Sunday and Monday. I know this because a friend organized the event. But neither of the venues' websites -- Railroad Tavern and Keene State College -- has the information. Nor does the Keene Sentinel. What's more, none of these three websites makes calendar information available as RSS feeds.

Yahoo's acquisition of Upcoming will certainly help move things along. As will the growing visibility of other such services, notably EVDBEventful. But since I expect no single one of these to dominate, or to supplant the existing calendars maintained by newspapers, colleges, and other venues, we have to think in terms of syndication and federation.

RSS is a big part of the story. Calendar publishers need to learn that information made available in RSS format will flow to all the event sites as well as to individual subscribers.

I think, like me, Jon Udell is grabbing a hold on things from the wrong end of the stick. When I first started working on the platform behind MSN Spaces, one of my pet scenarios was making it easier to create blog posts about events then syndicating them easily. One of the things I slowly realized is that unlike blogging which has killer apps for consuming syndicated content (RSS readers) there really isn't anything similiar for calendar events nor is there likely to be anything compelling in that space in the near future. The average home user doesn't utilize calendaring software nor is there incentive to start using such software. Even if every eventing website creates RSS feeds of events, the fact is that my girlfriend, my mom and even me don't maintain calendars which would benefit from being able to consume this data.

The corporate user is easier since calendaring software is part of communications clients like Outlook and Lotus Notes. However those aren't really the targets of sites like Upcoming or Eventful, however I suspect those are their best bets for potential users in the near term.  


 

Sunday, October 16, 2005 6:53:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I think there's a psychological factor at work here: the ubiquity of calendaring software in the business environment is actually part of the problem - people associate it with work, and using anything like it in their private life may seem like work intruding on the personal space even more than it does already.
Sunday, October 16, 2005 6:58:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
One reason there's no common event consumer is that Microsoft hasn't bothered to put together a "Home Life" package the way Apple has - but assuming this is not going to happen soon, it's likely that some web application will become the defacto home calendar for Windows users. Obviously this will depend on some kind of viral/network effect, so something like Evite is a good candidate. Trumba is going after things in a similar way - small groups of users with an incentive to share schedules (teams, clubs, etc.) I haven't followed upcoming much but I don't think it qualifies - that's not *my* personal calendar it's maintaining, it's a list shared by everyone.

If succesful apps do emerge, first thought is that these apps would then become the primary producers of data as well. Of course, as you say in your previous post, there has to be some reason for these apps to export data (whether for mashups or for app-to-app collaboration) and unlike Amazon books or Ebay auctions there's not a lot of value in exposing appointments so people will come to your site.

But there *is* a lot of value for event organizers to get exposure, so perhaps the order is:
1. Someone builds a site targeting circles of friends with shared interests & providing a personalized calendar
2. The open the platform to consume events from other sources (specifically, metatagged blog entries at first)
3. Other sources start producing RSS feeds
4. (not yet solved even in blog world) sites like upcoming start aggregating such feeds & making recommendations

I think the world is in the middle of stage 1 [[specifically, how to build something people will use - and pay for??]] & upcoming is waiting for us to get to 3 or 4...
Steve
Monday, October 17, 2005 7:13:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
There are truly two things missing for calendaring: 1. Easy publication of events and 2. easy consumption of events. Let's ignore the fact that the TV listings will get a lot more views than any event calendar or event search no matter how easy it is.

"Easy publication" requires some special discoverable format for index engines, I think. If anyone has something like that, please let us know. Even if it is some geeky embedded tag thing. And then the index engines have to recognize it and deliver the info with simple search terms...

"Easy consumption" requires some simple way to bring together events from several sources or searches into a calendar. I don't think an RSS analogue will completely suffice for this. Again, the index engines need to recognize events on the Web and be able to deliver the machine format results.

As for payment. I wouldn't pay for events on a calendar, but I might look at ads associated with an event. I might look at ads on a blog or website that publishes event information. So there is probably nothing new here, just the same old stuff.

Maybe Dave Winer could get the ball rolling on this badly-needed corner of the information Web? ;-)
Tuesday, October 25, 2005 3:25:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
easy publication - microformats

Easy consumption - isn't there supposed to be a calendar viewer in Vista? I don't want MS to default own every space, but if there's a freeby in Windwos (like Outlook Express), people start using it and move on. Greg Sullivan rightly told me off to wanting to ditch Paint from Windwos because at least the most basic basic is there...
Friday, November 18, 2005 7:16:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I think http://www.rememberthemilk.com is a pretty good attempt at this.
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