Friday, December 14, 2007

Epic Knolz

You don't need me to tell you what Google Knol is. Here's why it will fail, according to what we have been told about it so far.

  • It's Wikipedia minus organised human oversight... which means it's just Blogger with a MediaWiki theme. You don't see Blogger sites dominating SERPs - not any more, anyway.
  • If claiming a Knol page is first-in-best-dressed, on its official opening there will be a hugely distasteful DNS-style land grab, mostly won by spammers.
  • Knol processes which are likely to fail without firmly directed human oversight: metapages like categories; page ownership; copyright violations; verbal abuse; racial content; anything else normally handled by Wikipedia's ArbCom.
  • Udi Manber says "The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors." Wrong approach. Wikipedia is all about the editors, truth be told. If you remove editors and leave it up to the authors, the project lacks focus.
  • Squidoo and Mahalo welcome spammers and SEO agents because they work cheap, but try to keep them on short leashes. Knol will be just as accommodating to these enemies of quality, but it does not sound like Google will provide the whip hand necessary to keep their excesses in check.

As it stands, if Knol succeeds, it will hurt Google. They have not explained why it is necessary to recreate Wikipedia. Someone other than Udi Manber needs to give valid reasons as to why Knol is at all needed, and why it is not a blatant attack on existing knowledge aggregators.


Blogger Jeremy Horn said...

Good points. I would also be concerned about the potential conflict between search engine and that of content provider.

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

6:37 pm, December 14, 2007  

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