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Google Runs Out of Content to Monetize; Wants You to Build More



Whenever I speak with an industry analyst, I’m invariable asked whether Google will continue to grow revenues at its current pace. My response is usually along the lines of “Google will continue to partner with content providers….”

Well, Google’s kicked that effort up a notch with news that it will now encourage the “average joe” to create content pages, saturate the web with them, and help Google earn some extra ad revenue along the way.

What surely must make Wikipedia, Associated Content and Mahalo cringe, is the introduction of what Google is calling “knols”–short for units of knowledge. Here’s how Google’s Udi Manber, VP Engineering explains a Knol…

At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word “knol” as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we’ll do the rest.

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors. We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject.

Authors of knols won’t be forced to show Google ads, but if they do they will receive a “substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.”

Here’s an example knol…

knol.png

So here are a few questions I’d like to hear your feedback on…

  1. Any conspiracy theories on whether this is connected to the apparent filtering of Squidoo content? Did Google get rid of the biggest competitor to knols?
  2. Didn’t we already have knols with Google Page Creator? Will nols replace this?
  3. Google doesn’t plan to edit knols in anyway – will this lead to more spam/noise in the search results?

  • http://www.mysticliquid.com Fred333

    Sounds like another way to get some great info out there on various topics.

  • http://www.brianchappell.com Brian Chappell

    @fred yea because there isn’t already with the 123081203812830 pages found on the web?

    google LOVES to get people to do the work for them :-)

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    Yup just more content for Google to fill the SERPs with that they will control and own.

    One day I see us searching Google and seeing mostly Google properties coming up in the top ten.

  • WD

    To me it also seems to be a direct competitor to About.com as well.

    What I find interesting is:
    “A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read.”

    “Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors.”

    “we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality.”

    So Google is about to release yet another place for unedited and potentially incorrect information, it’ll probably rank well (goodbye wikipedia), and they’ll wash their hands of any responsibility for it.

  • http://mikecane.wordpress.com Mike Cane

    >>>“A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read.”

    In other words, Google will MAKE SURE it’s the first search result. Wow, talk about suckage.

    This is the kind of crap I expect from Microsoft.

  • http://www.ikiw.org Stewart Mader

    > Google Runs Out of Content to Monetize; Wants You to Build More

    That is, hands down, the _best_ headline I’ve seen about the Knol announcement!

    Seriously, this could be a big conflict of interest for Google. Both source and directory of content? This could be a credibility hit for them, depending on how they handle ranking their own property with respect to others.

  • http://www.apogee-web-consulting.com/blogger/blog.html Richard Ball

    Yeah, I’m going to be a trol and say that knol is bad for Google. It’s a capitulation that either:

    1) Google’s spam fighting algorithms don’t work
    2) People powered search is somewhat viable

    Neither bodes well for Google.

  • http://www.AceActionFigures.com Matt Kilsdonk

    If I wanted these bits of knowledge I would just go to Wikipedia, which I think a lot of people already do. Though I would be interested to see how high the revenue share is.

  • http://www.ychange.com Small Business Marketing

    So now we have every Tom, Dick and Mary becoming a writer because there is money to be made by Google. ‘Google’ help us all. Content doesn’t bother me as much as the poor writing that I’ll have to sift through to get to the content if it is indeed really there.

  • http://www.caraudio-reviews.com Mike

    The only part of this that could be worth while is the revenue share. I am interested to see how this goes.

  • http://www.goodnightmoonfuton.com Futon-Matt

    I think this is a good idea if it give about.com some competition. Though, I sure it will still be covered in Adsense, so maybe it won’t be anything new.

    Matt

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  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    It’s surprising they haven’t already done this.

  • http://bushidoblog.com.ar Zen

    “…and will not bless any content.”

    Remind you of something? :P

  • http://chasinggoogle.blogspot.com Mobile guy

    Google can’t beat Wikipedia.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Mobile guy – sure it can. It can start by removing Wikipedia pages from every single SERP!

  • http://ConsumerHelpWeb.com George Bounacos

    I’ve come back to this in my reader a half dozen times. Not because of the whole platform vs publisher argument, which is going to make heads spin as it filters through the “search network”, but simply because it is the best headline I’ve read about online marketing in a long time. The whole story is right there.

    You want relevancy? I got your relevancy right here.

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