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Wikipedia and Knoll and How to Benefit From the Exposure

Sep 10, 2008
Conduct almost any internet search and you're likely to get at least one listing for Wikipedia. After all, it is the internet's biggest free-content encyclopedia. But Google hopes to change all of that with the advent of Knol. Even though Knol is still being developed, industry experts are already predicting that it could bring about another paradigm shift in the way information is shared.

As Google describes it, Knol will look a lot like Wikipedia. The content will be provided by various experts, the topics will be vast and varied, and access will, of course, be free with a login. Many industry experts believe that Knol will be Wikipedia's fiercest competitor.

"Google" is already synonymous with "search engine." If Knol is as good at providing knowledge as Google is at providing internet search capabilities, then it could not only be the world's most popular search again, but also a publisher of web content. Industry observers note one drawback: If Google publishes web content, then the objectivity of its search results could be compromised. Jeff Chester from the Center for Digital Democracy says that, "At the end of the day, there's a fundamental conflict between the business Google is in and its social goals. What you're seeing here, slowly, is Google embracing an advertising-driven model, in which money will have a greater impact on what people have ready access to."

Knol, named after a "unit of knowledge," will allow users to create web pages on any topic. It will also allow users to submit comments, rate web pages, and suggest changes. While Wikipedia allows any user to edit content, Knol will only allow edits by the author of that specific "knol" or by anyone to whom the author gives permission. And unlike Wikipedia, which integrates the contributions of all authors into one article, Knol will allow multiple articles by different authors on a single topic.

According to Google, the purpose of Knol is to call attention to authors with expertise in particular subjects. Udi Manber, Vice President of Engineering for Google, recently stated that there is no protocol for ensuring that an article found on the internet will highlight the name of the article's author. According to Manber, Google believes that users can make more informed decisions about how to use internet content if they know its origins. Google hopes that Knol will become the go-to internet encyclopedia, offering information on anything from health to history to science. Manber states that Knol should be the "first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read."

Although Wikipedia is the most widely known knowledge resource on the internet, other sites provide similar services. You may already be familiar with Squidoo, Yahoo Answers, http://About.com, and Mahalo. Industry experts believe that Google wants to be part of this cloud of knowledge sites and that Knol is its contribution. According to Manber, Google believes that online knowledge sites aren't completely accessible to many people and that Google wants to change that.

Interestingly, Google has been reluctant to give any more information about Knol other than a scant few details. Much like other Google projects that never materialized, Knol may or may not be released at all.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipeida, reminds us that the ultimate purpose of Wikipedia is to provide objective information. Since multiple authors contribute to each article, each article contains of information from different viewpoints. Knol, he says, could result in contradictory articles on almost every topic.

Another difference between Wikipedia and Knol is that Knol, like Google, will include advertising. Authors will bring in revenue from Google ads located on their sites.

SEO experts are already thinking about how Knol will affect the world of internet marketing. If you're wondering the same thing, why not consult with an internet marketing professional to figure out how your campaign can be Knol-ready?
About the Author
Seomul Evans is a senior SEO Services with "SEO 1 Services" a Dallas firm providing SEO Marketing and free internet marketing articles .
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