We've decided to start posting again, after a 6 month break. We're going to be sticking to a similar format <sample>, usually posting once a week or so, on average, for the next 3 to 6 months. Our focus will mostly be on politics, but we may cover some alternative markets.
So the first big question, Q1. "should any readers ever really be expected to wait 6 months for the next posting on any site?" A1. No, obviously. Our sincere apologies therefore to one and all, especially if you actually noticed we were gone during this period. Plus, a big "thanks" if you're still reading this, and even more, if you return to read future posts. Q2. Should we always be expected to take such long breaks after any campaign finishes (our last coverage was of the 2006 mid-term elections)? A2. Potentially, yes, though we'll look to keep the time gaps much smaller next time, provided we can find relevant and worthy content.
So, what's the real reason for getting back in the saddle...... Three reasons.
1) there's plenty happening in politics right now, especially now the 2008 Election campaign has moved into second gear, with the nominees from both major parties now actively campaigning for their party's Presidential nomination.
2) there's also plenty happening in the prediction markets space more generally (more about this at a later time). For those who want to understand more about prediction markets, there's a great resource at Midas Oracle.
3) it seems the '08 election will really embrace the web and a bunch of related new technologies, even more than before, and vice versa. One small example, candidates are already posting on YouTube! See John Edwards' message for the YouChoose campaign <initial message>, followed by a <random response>, and the subsequent <Edwards' response> adding to this video conversation over the web.
Who knows what role Google and other media and internet companies will play in '08? Its going to be very interesting to watch how it all unfolds through this medium.
SMARTCROWD Probability Index
As the campaigns get into full swing, we'll be aiming to report on any significant action in the markets, while simultaneously calculating and publishing the SMARTCROWD Probability Index, as we did in the '06 mid-terms, to give you an aggregate view of the what the different crowds are signalling across some of the more relevant markets. The index will cover Inkling Markets, Newsfutures, WSX, Casual Observer (after it morphs into PredictionXchange) and other major markets like Intrade.
We've published our initial Probability Indexes (for April) <click here, if you are linking from an email or feed reader>, covering most of the leading GOP and Democrat nominees.
We also have published an index rating for the expected likelihood of a Democratic President, currently at 60% or a Republican President, currently at 40%, following the '08 election. The SMARTCROWD Probability Index, based on a range of prediction markets, recently showed Democratic nominee John Edwards at 13.28%, trailing Barack Obama, at 31.73% and Hillary Clinton, at 40.57%.
Look out for more posts in the coming weeks and months. We hope you'll find the data interesting.
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From the crew at SMARTCROWD
* excerpted from Wikipedia "Current usage often denotes a collection of dust, usually inside, with little to no traffic by people or animals." Very fitting!