It’s been about a week since I started communicating with the creators of Dapper and nearly five days since I last heard back. I’m going to have to guess that the conversation is over, even though I have unanswered questions at this time.
I would like to say that my conversations with Dapper put aside my fears and that all of my previous concerns are moot. However, I can not say that. If anything, my concerns have grown.
Though the conversation revealed a great deal about the direction Dapper is heading, including the idea of setting up a content supply chain by which small writers can sell their content to bigger fish rather than just going direct to consumers or selling advertising, it failed to answer any hard questions about the present uses.
Basically, while the idea of a content supply chain is a great notion, I never received an explanation as to how a screen scraper, like Dapper, fits into it. Most sites that would be interested provide an RSS feed or can do so easily. Such a vision does not require the scraping of unwilling sites.
I also failed to understand why the service is opt-out, not opt-in, and how they plan to handle the critical copyright issues that surround such a system. In fact, most copyright questions were overlooked.
The great concession was the addition of the above-mentioned opt-out system. However, other promises, such as robots.txt adherence, are unfulfilled as of this writing. There are also no answers as to why they released such an open and dangerous service before adding reasonable safeguards against abuse.
So, despite a rather lengthy dialog, I have no real update to provide. None of my concerns have been put to rest and the original questions are still, for the most part, unanswered.
I’m going to keep an eye on Dapper and report back occasionally, but it appears that my open exchange with them has ended, at least for the time being.
Maybe we can resume sometime in the near future.