From IndieWeb

This was submitted to the Knight Challenge 2014. See knight-news-challenge-2014 for more about the challenge.

IndieWeb Fellowships for the Independent and Open Web


What happens when an online service you use freezes your account, loses your data, or goes out of business? Have you ever used a service by a company that suddenly went under, stranding your data? Do you own your own identity or do you sharecrop? The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the corporate web, based on the principles that you should post data on your site first, then send a copy to other networks. When comments from those social networks come back, they are stored on your site.

The IndieWeb movement is a global community that is building an open set of principles and methods that empower people to take back ownership of identity and data instead of sharecropping on 3rd party websites.

Idea Description

The IndieWeb movement is a global community that is building an open set of principles and methods that empower people to take back ownership of identity and data instead of sharecropping on 3rd party websites.

Participants currently attend IndieWebCamps and Homebrew Website clubs around the world and take web development back into their own hands. Each group learns and teaches each other about ways to empower yourself to own your data, create and publish content on your own site, and only optionally syndicate to third-party silos. Along the way participants of all ages and backgrounds are part of a welcoming environment that helps them get a solid grounding in the history and future of Microformats data, domain ownership, IndieAuth, WebMention and more. The IndieWeb enables independent writers, bloggers, journalists and citizens to own their data and the conversations on social networks, as both are stored on their own site.

We'd like to be able to fund year-long fellowships at $75K each for 3 major contibutors to the IndieWeb community. This will allow for more awareness, building blocks and tools for the open web to be built quickly over the course of the next year.

One Sentence

In ONE sentence, tell us about your project to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation.:

The IndieWeb community builds tools and protocols that empower people to host their own sites, but still interact with people who haven't made the leap from participating on social networks to owning their own identity, data or domain.

Who will benefit

Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?:

Many generations can benefit from owning their own data and learning more about web development. Some of the generations of people that can benefit from IndieWeb concepts are outlined here: One of the core principles of the IndieWeb allows you to post on your own site, send a copy of that post to a social network, and then have the responses from the 3rd party site posted back on your site. Not only does the conversation get stored on your site, but your content is yours first, and the property of a silo second.

What progress have you made so far

Since 2011 the community has created awareness around the need to own your data and identity and a large number of projects and building blocks for the open web. shows a list of current projects supporting or being actively used by IndieWebCamp participants and community members to create the Indie Web. Journalists and other content creators have eagerly 'Indiwebified' their sites in order to own their data long term.

What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project

A successful outcome of the project would be more building blocks for the open web. Having up to three funded fellowship positions will allow us to fund a year of development for three large contributors to the IndieWeb community, ensuring more agnostic tools for interoperability between websites.

Who is on your team

Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?:

Kevin Marks is building a startup based on IndieWeb principles. Over the last 20 years he's moved between giant companies and founding startups - BBC, The UK MultiMedia Corporation, Apple QuickTime, Technorati, Google, BT, Salesforce. The common thread has been working out how people, computers and media can complement each other, and solving the engineering and social problems where they meet. He is one of the driving forces behind, and He is an advisor to the Open Rights Group. He wants you to remember that URLs are people too, and his URL is ------------------- Amber Case is a proponent of data ownership, and uses her domain as her own personal data store and identity provider. Case founded IndieWebCamp with Tantek ร‡elik and Aaron Parecki in 2010. In 2012 she was named one of National Geographic's Emerging Explorers and made Inc Magazine's 30 under 30 with Geoloqi co-founder Aaron Parecki. Case has spoken at TED on technology and humans and regularly speaks around the world. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic or at ------------------- Journalist Dan Gilmor is an advisor on this project.


  • Kevin Marks: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Amber Case: Portland, OR, USA

See Also