As Goes Dark, 50 Startups Prepare to Take its Place

Apr 5, 2011

" was the flagship project that spurred dozens of city, state and federal open data projects including DataSF. There were many reasons for governments to make their data accessible on portals like including: transparency, crowdsourcing of curation and analysis, Internal issue-solving, volunteerism, and citizen engagement. Budgetary concerns are seemingly the main reason for the shutdown. A government source indicated that, “The continuing resolution says we can only spend what we would reasonably expect to get during the fiscal year, and we have no reasonable expectation to get more than a couple of millions of dollars [for and the other seven websites].” Days before the Data 2.0 Conference opens in San Francisco on April 4, the U.S. government announced that will be shutting down, alongside seven other government data projects such as and According to Wikipedia, was to “become a repository for all the information the government collects. The site would publish to the public any data that is not private, or restricted by national security reasons.”

Technology and community leaders are up-in-arms about the shuttering of the sites. Dozens of startups including are built on top of data and now suddenly these innovators see their core value being taken away. From the perspective of the entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders at the Data 2.0 Conference, this is both a symbolic and material loss. Yet, not all is lost: there are over 50 startups at the Data 2.0 Conference which specifically aim to make data accessible and useful with or without"

As Nick Ducoff, CEO of InfoChimps, wrote:

“It would be very helpful if the government would devote its limited resources on simply pointing us to public data sets wherever they live in the wild. Socrata, Infochimps and others can do the rest of the heavy lifting (appending metadata, making the data findable, etc.). [U.S. CIO] Aneesh Chopra, Todd Park and others have been great cheerleaders for open data and I hope this doesn’t take the wind out of their sails.”Read more at