[uf-discuss] Product Data Microformat

David Beach beach at itsbeach.com
Sun Mar 5 18:08:00 PST 2006

I think XML could be sufficient. But if it is, then why hasn't any of  
this been done?

The reason why I believe (with my limited knowledge) microformats  
could be useful is I know how difficult it is to find and define  
products right now. Working in the product search business, we toil  
everyday with feeds and crawls. Nomalizing them is a difficult task.  
Manufacturers and merchants do not provide upc codes. And not every  
product has one. The descriptors that I see that we could benefit  
from include product name, model number, image, price, description,  
specs, availability, rebate, category, url, merchant name,  
manufacturer, upc if available, and possibly accessories. If this  
common data was wrapped in a standard microformat, then it would make  
the distribution of the product that much easier. I think that it  
would also help even the playing field a bit for smaller  
manufacturers and merchants. Essentially the better the product is  
defined the easier it is for search engines to find it and index it.

I'm going to ETech this week. If any of you all are going to be  
there, it would be interesting to meet up and discuss.

On Mar 5, 2006, at 12:00 PM, microformats-discuss- 
request at microformats.org wrote:

> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2006 21:10:25 -0800
> From: "Mike Dierken" <dierken at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [uf-discuss] Product Data Microformat
> To: "Microformats Discuss" <microformats-discuss at microformats.org>
> Message-ID:
> 	<7cd8e0930603042110g34643dc9i1d20935fa86926b6 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> If the goal is to automate distributing production information, then
> XML is sufficient. I thought a 'microformat' was meant to be an
> overlay on narrative text - like a highlighter with a color dedicated
> to 'product info'. I could be wrong - who knows the purpose of
> microformats as compared to simply using XML?
> There are several book related formats - UIEE for example (but that
> isn't XML) [1] - and there is UBL for 'business documents' [2] but I
> don't know if they have a 'product' format.
> [1] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/ 
> 1161336/103-3996345-0333429
> [2] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=ubl
>> About the need for a UPI: While it's true that it's important to  
>> identify a
>> product uniquely, once you've specified the part number and/or the
>> description as well as the manufacturer's name you've uniquely  
>> ID'd the
>> part, since it's rare that a manufacturer duplicates its own part  
>> names or
>> numbers.
> Well, not everything has a manufacturer, the manufacturer's name isn't
> necessarily unique, manufacturers do actually re-use and have
> duplicate part numbers. And the same product can have a UPC, EAN,
> manufacturer and part number - anyone could use any of these to
> reference the product. Then you get into issues of similarity, like
> after-market manufacturers of 'compatible' or 'equivalent' products -
> wouldn't it be nice to know those relationships?
> Anyway, something that mostly works is infinitely better than not
> having a system at all.

David Beach
beach at itsbeach.com

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