Nothing has a URI, everything is available

Chris Masse is an old fashioned (email) networker. Most recently he sent me a couple emails regarding my aside in this post:

Another complaint about HedgeStreet and to a lesser extent TradeSports: lack of easily linkable URLs for contracts. C’mon, it’s the web, get with the program!

Back to that concern in a second. First, I noticed that Chris included me in his list of blogs about prediction markets. I got a kick out of my entry:

Mike Linksvayer’s blog – My opinions only. I do not represent any organization in this publication.

  • Category: Prediction Markets
  • Mike Linksvayer is a developer, consultant and IT manager who is into open source software and public domain—among multiple tech topics.
  • He was recently profiled by one of his former Creative Commons’ colleague.
  • I think of him as a libertarian Democrat (or a Democratic libertarian)—I’m not sure, though.
  • He’s been good to me, but I fear him. The day I’ll miss a piece, he’ll assassinate me—cold blood. (Take a look at how he teared down economist Tyler Cowen.)
  • A Robin Hanson-compatible guy.
  • OUTING: Mike Linksvayer is a TradeSports affiliate.

Not bad. I’m registered to vote as an independent though I wouldn’t be the least bit upset if libertarian Democrats had some success.

Back to my complaint. Chris has a page with links to all(?) TradeSports markets. I was aware of these market URLs, and of URLs for individual contracts (beware: this content will attempt to resize your browser winodw). That’s why I said “to a lesser extent for TradeSports.” However, these URLs are obviously designed without consideration of access other than via the larger TradeSports website. They never appear in your browser’s URL bar, making them a pain to discover and they’re either incomplete or badly behaved.

If the Trade Exchange Network wants to be the authoritative prediction markets maker (interesting that they’re seeking to be a CFTC regulated exchange) one tiny step would be to make it easy for people to link to them. Better yet each market and contract would have a feed. Even better yet, an API for accessing market data and generating custom charts. In other words, take several cues from Amazon, eBay, and many others.

Apologies to Hassan i Sabbah’s legend.

8 Responses

  1. Hello Mike Linksvayer and all the readers,

    I’m writing to acknowledge this posting. I’m going to take account everything that was said here, plus more.

    – I will update my blogroll at a later time.
    – I’m currently writing a piece on the papacy futures markets. (It will be a bombshell.)
    – I’m currently following Barry Riholtz comments here:
    Feel free to post some thoughts there.

    So, thank you for your comment, and be assured that I’m at it.

    Best regards,

    Chris. F. Masse

  2. I said almost nothing! Thanks for the pointer. Riholtz also said almost nothing. I added a comment.

  3. voila
    I did a little update to take account this posting.


    Chris. F. Masse

  4. Hello San Francisco,

    The readers of this mind-shaking blog might be interesting in reading my last piece that links to this particular blog entry.

    In a nutshell, I’m outing myself as a Microsoft-hater, and I’m unveiling that professor Robin Hanson received money from them —a scoop worth the Pulitzer prize, no doubt. So, I’m asking Mike Linksvayer: What do you, the open source software propagandist, make of this?

    My sadistic pleasure would be that Mike comes up saying that it’s no big deal —and of course I will immediately fight back, painting him as being a Robin Hanson-lapdog.

    Let’s see whether Mike Linksvayer deserves his reputation as a debunker. (I’m trembling, hoping that he does not debunk… me!)

    Best regards,

    Chris. F. Masse

    P.S.: Hey, I also have a piece out that will make ripples in the blogosphere because Barry Ritholtz will blog back at me today.

    How the 2004 U.S. political prediction markets outsmarted a Wall Street pundit, an esteemed economics professor and the commentariat as a whole!

    P.P.S.: The other piece about the papacy futures markets that I promised here has been postponed. Soon. It will be a bombshell. (It will also have a link back to this particular blog entry because of Mike’s comments about the InTrade URLs.)

    How the BBC and Co. went overboard claiming that the prediction markets had foreseen the name of the new pope.

  5. Hello home of French industrial policy’s attempt to replicate Silicon Valley by design,

    You may be a Microsoft-hater. I am not. Microsoft is, more than it is not, just another company. I do think that the run of open source writ large has only begun. I’d rather not be thought of as a propagandist for open source or anything else, but ah well.

    If I had a problem with Hanson taking money from any source, it would be the US government.

    Off to read your updated PM journal. Please create a feed so your updates come across via my aggregator! :-)

  6. […] Another crazy thing: making your product unlinkable. […]

  7. […] Apparently Tradesports explained why it makes it a pain to link to its contracts. They want to sell access to the data. I don’t see easy linking and data sales as mutually exclusive, but Tradesports’ current practice doesn’t help it win bigger opportunities (becoming the dominant PM exchange). […]

  8. […] Nothing has a URI, everything is available. Ensuring good permalinks to everything can be premature optimization, especially when paying customers always use other forms of navigation. Assassination references are never funny. […]

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