Well, as soon as I rant-parodied Google’s ADWords program, comparing it to “black hat” SEO doorway pages of yesteryear, Google took the next step towards SEO/publisher disintermediation with the announcement of “Knol”, a
spam article submission site. Gee, can you guess what Google will do next? Proxy page title elements in the index with “better ones”? Insert “tags” in-line with content to help align relevancy? Re-map the web so links better represent (expected) content relationships? Whatever… it seems Google wants to paint pretty pictures of its perfect world so everyone who doesn’t understand the web yet will commit their content to the Google revenue stream.
You have to hand it to
Microsoft Google, though. Pre-announcing beta programs that admittedly might “never launch at all”, locking detail but heavy in presentation polish. A classic BigCompany intimidation move to deter investment in competition. Over the past year I enjoyed several very intelligent conversations with very smart people about how the wiki concept is the next thing after search engines. I haven’t agreed, but I was never the smartest guy in the discussion, either. Who would fund a startup wikipedia-like ’search engine” knowing Google is preparing this Knol thing? Ouch, that has got to hurt. Sub $1 million dollar private equity funders are not the bravest bunch, in my experience.
As TrustRank (the Google version, not the Yahoo! version) takes hold as the #1 or #2 ranking factor for SEO, this Knol thing steps in and bingo… who could be more trusted than Google itself? As many have highlighted, it’s not easy to manage a content site, so we can’t be sure but if Google achieves what it showed as it’s “sample” (an insomnia article from a Standford physician). If Google did gain acceptance as “the” place to willing contribute (for free) branded authoritative content like that, we’re looking at pretty serious manipulation of free public access to information. There is no way entire industries like, for example, “academia” will freely contribute to Google’s “free” content aggregation site without significant guaranteed benefits for the long haul. Let one of those uncertified, foreign-trained medical experts supporting Wikipedia write a competing article of equal or better quality, sans the American politics, and see what happens. Is Google up to the task of disrupting everything at the same time?
I liked Mahola for one thing only - watching them launch articles was like watching an affiliate marketer prioritize his work flow. Biggest money makers first, then next, then next on down the line. I have pointed several newbie SEOs to Mahaloo for just that reason — look at what they target and you’ve got today’s most profitable keyword niches. What will Google publish after Insomnia? Accident Lawyers in Phoenix? Wrinkle reduction in Los Angeles? Or how about one of those too-perfect San Diego cosmetic surgeons writing an authoritative article on Botox for Crow’s feet? Of course we’ll see solar power and such, too.
- http://gigaom.com/2007/12/14/google-knol/, http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=7350