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Introduction to Data Ranching

October 24th, 2007

The term data mining has been used for many years to refer to the extraction and analysis of useful information from various sources (usually databases). Data mining practices generally overlook future growth of the data or even the value of granular data to information seekers.

With the rise of the Internet and so-called Web 2.0 applications designed to elicit user-generated content, a new analogy is useful for describing the purpose of this class of products: data ranching.

Data ranching refers to any application that exists to gather data, generally from a wide variety of individuals, and present the data in an organized and useful format. Depending on the application, varying degrees of user-input may be allowed while the output may be distributed for free or packaged for sale.

Effective data ranching requires expertise in many different areas including computer programming, user interface design, business strategy, and even human psychology. Data mining itself is a narrow aspect of data ranching involving the optimization of data presentation and analysis.

Explained another way, data mining extracts value from existing data resources while data ranching cultivates the growth of data and manages the distribution of the data product to others.

This blog will introduce the concept of data ranching by discussing well-known data ranching applications and specific businesses that are already taking advantage of data ranching today.

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