From IVP Wiki


Blueprinting the Information Valet Economy

Building a collaborative, shared-user network

December 3-5, 2008
Reynolds Journalism Institute
Columbia, Missouri



Original email invitation

Here is the text of the original email invitation to "Blueprint the Information Valet Economy."

Dear editors, executives and entrepreneurs:

If you thought that by spending a short time in Columbia, Mo., we could build a new, healthy age for journalism, would you make a modest time and financial investment and participate?

I'm convinced we can do it, with three days to plan the launch of the Information Valet Project, a new, competitive business model for sustaining journalism. Will you help?

We seek active participants in "Blueprinting the Information Valet Economy: Building a collaborative, shared-user network." We're gathering Dec. 3-5 at the new Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Take action now:




Or, respond to this email to explain the role you'd like to play among up to 70 executives, technologists and information-industry strategists we expect will gather at this new University of Missouri research center.





If your passion is news, or you are a senior executive or strategist in the news, advertising, telecommunications, entertainment, wireless, technology, health care, financial services or entertainment industries, you'll want to consider joining us.

Because the Information Valet Project could change your business in ways you haven't imagined. For once, it's your chance to shape disruption to your advantage -- before it occurs.

So join participants from Lee Enterprises . . . MediaNews Group . . . the Berkman Center at Harvard University . . . as we outline a network for privacy, advertising, commerce, personalization -- and perhaps, too, getting paid for journalism that matters.

Register from:


It's time to acknowledge that advertising -- as we know it -- is not going to sustain journalism -- as we have known it -- on the Internet. Both have got to change. And so must the fundamental outlook of news organizations.

This unique, action-planning session is designed to change the landscape for news and information-service providers, creatives, artists and publishers. It's your chance to be involved from the start. On Dec. 4, breakout groups will start creating frameworks for the Information Valet economy in law, governance, marketing, advertising, technology, user identity and transactions.

Our intention is not to proscribe a precise system, but rather to consider the new relationships the Internet enables among users and information providers -- why it is breaking some businesses, and creating others.


Exactly what are we talking about creating?

When people like Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee helped invent key parts of the Internet and World Wide Web, no one foresaw that a one-time defense-industry experiment and academic research network would become a key engine of worldwide commerce.

Their elegant inspiration -- protocols which did barely what was necessary, and nothing more, has fostered nearly two decades of furious, independent, free-market innovation. But we now know there are some missing pieces:

-- A way to end the endless pattern of multiple user IDs, passwords, and accounts, and obtain a more customized web experience.

-- The option to purchase -- and be paid -- for information transactions with a single account, recognized at most websites.

-- The freedom to choose from an array of service providers for such single-account, customized convenience -- and privacy control.

The technologists would call this federated authentication coupled with a four-party commerce network. We're calling it the Information Valet Project.

The Information Valet Service should be a place where companies compete to provide personalized service to users, yet share those users, and where they make money referring those users to content -- and advertising -- from almost anywhere.


The U.S. news industry struggles as print advertising moves elsewhere and web advertising's double-digit growth sputters. The industry needs to rethink and relaunch its relationship with 50 million customers -- to become their "information valet" able to make money whether those users are buying services, information (including music and entertainment) or being paid for web seeking and for contact with sponsored messages and advertising.

Consumers want a customized experience, but want to control and be compensated for use of demographic and usage profiles.

The Internet needs a user-focused system for sharing identity, exchanging and settling value (including payments), for digital information. The system should allow multiple "Information Valets" to compete for and serve customers with varied topical interests and appetites for demographic sharing.


We'll be meeting amid the nation's largest and perhaps finest journalism school and at the oldest land-grant university west of the Mississippi River.

"Blueprint" participants will be nestled within the forums, meeting rooms and open spaces of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, which opened in September through a $31-million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. It's dedicated to inventing, researching, shaping and sustaining the future of news.

For an afternoon, a full day and a wrapup morning, in the serenity of the Midwest prairie, we'll hash out the governance, technologies, business models, marketing and financial operation of the Information Valet Service . . . who will own it and who will benefit.


In the development of any transformative technology, a time arrives for collaboration which does not stop competition . . . but enables it . . . by creating rules . . . and a level playing field. Whether it's settling on 60 cycles AC, or the railroad-track guage, or the Bluetooth specifications . . . technology requires standardization before the real change begins.

As a participant in "IVP Blueprint," you are accepting a challenge to lead this pattern again . . . to add a new dimension to the Information Superhighway that respects personal privacy, yet takes Internet information commerce to a new level of sharing -- and competition.

You may never have been in Columbia, Missouri, before. And you may never return again. But if you miss this chance to visit America's heartland, at a special time and for a critical reason, you may miss birthing of a new, free market for digital information.

To learn more about what to expect, who's invited, how they'll participate, and why "Blueprinting the Information Valet Economy" is happening now, point your browser to: for program, travel and registration details.

I look forward to hearing from you by phone or email.

-- bill

Bill Densmore, 2008-2009 Fellow
Reynolds Journalism Institute
201 RJI Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia MO 65211
573-882-9812 / VOICE MAIL/CELL: 617-448-6600