Experts bring smarts to the net - somewhere on a grassy knol…
So Google has launched ‘knol’. A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic. Not a new idea of course, but we’ll go into that later…
The articles themselves are a way of Google to bring some “quality” to the information on the net. One of the major problems with allowing anyone to write on anything they want is that you get varied “quality” of information. So Google is now encouraging experts in a community of experts to write about things they’re passionate about, thus improving the body of information on the net. Sounds familiar? Well it should. Yahoo Questions and Answers has been doing this for ages successfully and has a massive community who participates in creating excellent content for Yahoo to sell Ads on. And here in lies the part of the business model that interests Google, user created content, with some level of quality that Google can then sell ads on it. If you write a good and popular knol, Google will cut you in on the profits.
So Google gets the quality content that it prides itself on delivering, they make money by expanding their content network and you (the author) get a cut. Everyone wins!
Well nearly everyone. It’s going to hurt independent sources of information like Wikipedia. The good old Wiki is one of the last big giants of the web that consistently ranks well but isn’t owed by Google, and Google can’t control it (too many people know about it, they can’t just start cutting it out of the web).
So Google says that; “The web contains vast amounts of information, but not everything worth knowing is on the web.” Uh, isn’t that what your algorithm is meant to filter out?
We’ll watch this one closely, the key for Google here will be getting the right experts and balance of control on the content.