Kasabi was a data marketplace service launched by Talis in June 2011. The aim of the service was to provide:
- complete data hosting service, including storage and APIs
- a full Linked Data hosting solution
- a marketplace for developers to share and gain access to datasets
The system was built on Talis’s proprietary data hosting platform which took care of storage and data indexing. The Kasabi APIs provided an additional layer of functionality including access control and usage monitoring. The Kasabi website was built as a Drupal application.
The site was shut down on 30th July 2012 after Talis decided to refocus its ongoing investments on its Education division.
Overall the service was well received by developers, particularly in the semantic web and open data communities. The service offered some relatively unique features compared to other startups and services exploring the data marketplace concept:
- Every dataset was backed by a replicated graph database (an RDF triple store)
- Every dataset was automatically available via a range of APIs, providing different access options. These included SPARQL 1.1 compliant endpoints, full-text search, entity lookup, and the Google Refine reconciliation API. Unreleased features included geo-indexing support, live aggregations across datasets, and data update notifications
- Dataset contents were automatically summarised to provide metadata on size, update times, and their contents via a simple “report card” concept.
- Developers could share queries against datasets, as well as build new APIs over the SPARQL endpoints. New APIs could provide unique ways to access a dataset and support custom XML and JSON outputs. This allowed the community to crowd-source useful access paths into the data.
However, usage had remained relatively low throughout the life-time of the service, ultimately contributing to the decision to shutdown the service. The inability to find a user base may have been due to several factors, including being “too early”: other data marketplace start-ups have pivoted in different directions and few are pursuing a pure marketplace strategy.
A set of bookmarks on twitter provide some additional background on the service, including coverage on its goals, launch and features from a range of blogs and news sites.