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Knol – More of Squidoo and Less of Wikipedia

Google opened Knol to everybody after announcing it last year. Knol is another free web publishing tool in which author can earn ad money. Main point Google is trying to stress here is focus on authors. Moderated collaboration is allowed and encouraged.

Most Blogs (TC, SEL) are comparing Knol with Wikipedia because of collaboration features.

But Knol is more like Squidoo or Hubpages.

  • The common feature between Wikipedia and Knol is collaborative content creation. But Knol encourages Moderated collaboration with focus on author. This makes Knol similar to Blogs and not Wikipedia. Remember, wikipedia focuses on collaboration with no stress on author.

  • Knol authors can earn money just like Squidoo lensmasters.

  • Author’s own brand name will be a key factor in Knol’s viewership and ranking. Squioo’s lensmasters have same effect on lenses.

  • Anybody is allowed to write anything (with few exceptions of course) on Knol and Squidoo (Poor content will rank low or will not rank at all though) while poor content will most probably be deleted from Wikipedia.

  • There will be multiple articles on one topic in Knol and Squidoo whereas Wikipedia will have only one article on any topic.

The list can go on. Knol is a competitor of Squidoo and Hubpages not Wikipedia. Other than individual brand names, web publishing service that generates better revenues for authors, builds better and supportive community, keeps spam to low, and ranks articles correctly will be eventual winner.

Is it Fair Move by Google to Compete with Content Partners?

There have been some discussions in blogsphere about Google trying to compete with Content producers. Knol is Google’s online article publishing service. Anybody can write article for free and earn ad revenue. Knol was recently opened for everybody after being announced last year. Many blogs have reacted strongly (Recently Problogger, Journalistopia, and earlier on Tech Crunch, Search Engine Land), on Google becoming a direct competitor to publishing partners. Is Knol in direct competition with Blogs and Media companies and is it fair?

Knol is platform to produce content. In that sense it is a competitor to platforms such as Squidoo, hubpages, Wikipedia and not Content producers. Content producers (including Bolggers) get a new platform to write on. Now we get to choose between Squidoo, Hubpages, Individual Blogs and others. Google is simply hosting content, something they are already doing with Blogger, Page Creator and Google Sites.

There is also a fear that Knols will unfairly rank better in Google search results. This is genuine fear. Even though Google probably will not manually change the rankings, they do have access to Search algorithm that others don’t. But again, Knol is a platform. Though there are chances that it will give unfair advantage to Google, the better chances are that Google will achieve high rankings for Knols by creating guides, tips, tutorials, and help section for Knol authors to help them rank high. Most of this publicly available information and tips are going to be applicable to other platforms and blogs too.

There are chances that Knol might have unfair advantage. But unless Google really does go unethical, Knol should help web community. If nothing else, fear of huge public outcry should keep Google fair.


  1. I think you've got it about right. As General Manager of HubPages, we think that we're doing a pretty good job of building a community, putting money in our author's pockets, and keeping spam to a minimum. We welcome the competition from Google -- we just hope Google will keep it's search results neutral.

  2. I agree very much with this article. It is very much more like squidoo rather than Wikipedia. It'll be interesting to see how Knol succeeds in comparison to (marketing guru) Seth Godin's website : Squidoo (which has been out of beta for more than 2 years now)


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