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July 24, 2008

Knol: Great for Google or Bad?

I thoroughly enjoy Wikipedia and use it frequently. I love to read information and facts, and Wikipedia makes doing so all too easy. The information is of course provided by users, so there is a lot of info on Wikipedia that is wrong, but overall it is still informative.

Google liked the idea so much that they decided to take the same idea and monetize it. Now, users can create informational articles on ‘Knol’ (www.Knol.Google.com) and create an ad to go along with the article. The articles default to allow Adsense ads to which the writer will share some of the revenue. Google says that there is very little oversight to the veracity of the ads except that users can leave reviews.

This sounds easy to take advantage of for profit. One of the problems with the idea comes down to the fact that Google is the one that gets the rest of the profit. They are also the one that controls the rankings. While, I really do believe that Google will operate with integrity and avoid unfair practices, I still think that Google is opening up a can of worms they may not be prepared for.

The other problem is directly on Google.com search results. Most search results pages are littered with at least one Wikipedia link or more. It stands to reason that Knol will do the same as long as the information within the articles is significantly different. This will create another challenge for the SEO community. Luckily, I’m just a PPC specialist. More Adsense space creates more Content Network real estate for my clients. Heck, creating an article designed for a client’s ad seems to be……..ummm…forget I said that.

Anyways, despite the way it sounds, I really do like the idea of another open source encyclopedia. I love the offerings that Google brings to the web. I think Google would have been well advised to walk away from this one. As questionable as the idea sounds for Google, Knol is going in my fav’s anyways.

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