The Solution

What are offerbots?

The solution in 4 paragraphs

In the context of the problem, our goal is to give people their own source of external offer processing so that we no longer need the external offer processing provided (and distorted) by aggregators.

Offers are just information. We can use information processing technology (the web, databases, schema, etc.) to share offers with each other and then filter and display them as we see fit. If we provide people with a tool to process offers, we can stop paying for human attention (which is scarce, expensive and used by aggregators to take our money, efficiency and opportunities) and start paying for information processing (which is abundant and cheap).

The solution, then, is an offerbot – a federated, distributed, personal and open-source tool for generalized offer processing. It will allow individuals and organizations to make and receive any offer and filter, process and display them however they see fit, giving them (rather than aggregators) control over the offers they receive. Once we have offerbots we won’t need to use aggregators’ search engines, social networks or commerce platforms – we will create our own.

Convincing people to participate in a distributed network of offerbots from scratch, however, is almost impossible. The intermediate solution is to create a centralized offer processing system which is neutral and does not exclude any party on the basis of their ability or willingness to pay. This will create a supply of offers, income to build offerbots and demand for offerbots themselves.

The solution in detail

The best way to understand the solution is to read these articles, noting that:

  1. relative to the problem side, these articles are underdeveloped and most are unfinished,
  2. I’m a full-stack web developer but not a technologist (meaning that, in theory, I could build a basic offerbot but I wouldn’t necessarily build it the best way or with the knowledge to identify and leverage existing technologies and projects),
  3. Offerbots must be highly efficient at sending, receiving, processing and representing offers in a generalized manner at a reasonable scale (such that it may not be possible, much less desirable, to shoehorn offerbots into technologies which are not able to support this), and
  4. my primary concern is that we won’t build a complete offerbot and, therefore, people will be using a tool which homogenizes and distorts the economy, society and information as aggregators do.

For all of this I invite your feedback (and useful discussion is now taking place here and here). Feel free to start a new discussion and invite me to it, or contact me directly (my details are at the bottom of the page).

The Offerbots ConceptWhat are offerbots?
The Purpose of Offerbots*What must offerbots be able to do?
Offerbot Data Structure*What information does an offerbot store?
Offerbot APIs*How do offerbots interact with each other (and us)?
The Offerbots Project*What is the purpose of this project (and how can I help)?
ChallengesWhat are the hard parts of the offerbots project?
Consquences*What might happen if we adopt offerbots?
* These articles are unfinished, some are placeholders only.

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