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Google Knol”edge”, Wikipedia and Trias Politica

Arnold Zafra posted about Google’s KNOL service (derived from the word “knowledge”) already on Friday here at SearchEngineJournal.com.

Yesterday Brook Schaaf from Schaaf Consulting reported at ReveNews.com about an article about the subject at the Times Online that was published also yesterday.

Based on the article at the UK news paper, did Nielson Online estimate Wikipedia’s traffic for October to be 107 Million people compared to over 260 million people who visited Google that same month. Wikipedia pages also rank very well in Google, too well actually, which causes some displeasure among search engine marketers, which is actually well founded. It is understandable that Google would like to get a piece of this for themselves.

But Knol is not like a Wiki that is open for anybody to edit. The Times Online states, quote:

“Where Wikipedia promotes collaboration between authors, knol looks set to foster rivalry. Contributors to knol will not be able to contribute anonymously and will not be able to edit each other’s work, two defining characteristics of Wikipedia. Whereas on Wikipedia, readers find only one entry on, say, the First World War, on knol authors will submit separate pieces that will compete for advertising dollars.”

And

“Contributors will retain the copyright to their submissions.”

The Times Online cites Jimbo Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, who questioned the quality that “Knol” will be able to produce, quote:

“(He) suggested that knol articles would lack balance. “They are not going to allow collaboration and aren’t going to go for Wikipedia’s neutral style”

Brook Schaaf also stated:

“This description made it sound sort of like Squidoo to Me.”

That is a comparison which is actually pretty accurate. Seth Godin’s brain child allows people to create articles for a keyword and benefit from the earnings, which is shared between Squidoo and the content creator. Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land also reported about Knol and its resemblance to Squidoo and also points out the spam problem Squidoo had in the past, which caused the site to get penalized by Google.

Google did already steps into content creation in the past with tools like Google Pages and the blogging platform Blogger. Danny Sullivan states about that issue

“Is this Google going a step too far? Google abandoned its search roots long ago, the idea that it was just a pointer to other information.”

I also see another problem, the increasing conflict of interest. Google has a financial benefit and interest that Knol pages rank high in their own organic search results that their own AdWords ads on those Knol pages will generate money for Google.

Google will be the manufacturer, distributor and retailer of their own goods. No problem, unless you have a market share like the top 15-20 grocery retailers combined. Google seems aiming to become the equivalent of the legislative, Judiciary and executive branches of a state, as defined by the “Trias Politica“, all-in-one. This will not only cause potentially some legal troubles and pressure from the FTC, but also a loss of trust by users of the search engines. Google should either organize the worlds information or produce them and don’t try to monetize them on top of all that.

What are your thoughts to this development? Do you like the idea of Knol? Why? If you don’t, please share your concerns with me and the other readers of Search Engine Journal.

Cheers!
Carsten Cumbrowski
Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Internet Marketing Strategy Consultant

e6149739a0ceadb8fde822225838bd26 64 Google Knoledge, Wikipedia and Trias Politica
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over 10 years experience in Web Development and 20 years in programming and computers in general. He has a personal Internet Marketing Resources site at Cumbrowski.com. To learn more about Carsten, check out the "About Page" at his web site. For additional contact options see this page.

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5 thoughts on “Google Knol”edge”, Wikipedia and Trias Politica

  1. It is pretty clear it is going to become a conflict of interest. It think one of the main strength of Google was its independence of the content providers. It is going to make the results less trustworthy.

  2. I completely agree with you Endre. They already have a conflict of interest when it comes to MFA sites and Parked Domains that show up in the search results and are monetized by Google. This will make it much worse IMO.

  3. Not so sure about this one. Do we really feel comfortable with Google adding a website to the top of just about every search term. Doesn’t this feel ethically wrong in some of our minds? Sure it is their websites and can list who they want 1-100, but shouldn’t these pages be susceptible to the same algorithm we all have to be judged by and not get an artifical boost from Google?

  4. I think that if knoll pages are at the top, a LOT of advertisers will make hundreds knols and most knols will be advertising.