Today Google launched their KNOL (Short for Knowledge) service. A user contributed knowledge base that can take a huge bite out of for instance Wikipedia. But KNOL has a much more interesting aspect.
It is a showcase service for authors, and it has more in common with for instance Digg and Propeller than it does with Wikipedia.
On KNOL, the author owns the article. No more moderations where overzealous people nitpick on the smallest details and undo every change that they feel is wrong; regardless of its true merit. On KNOL, the article and author is voted on as wholes. No one but the author can modify it. So in that sense, it is more related to Social Media than it is to Wikipedia. And now we are beginning to see the genius of it.
The Bloggers Dream (or Nightmare)
This creates a very interesting new aspect for online marketers. Especially those that have spearhead knowledge in combination with great writing skills. These authors can now showcase not only their work, but themselves on something that proves to be a very interesting battleground for bloggers. It’s no longer a battle of “who has the most friends on Facebook and Stumble” This one is going to be fought with good old-fashioned writing skills and sweat of the writer’s brow.
The KNOL Effect Is Coming
Now, the best writers, will undoubtedly be able to drive massive amounts of traffic to their blogs, Much like the Digg Effect, a top voted article on any subject is bound to bring traffic in the thousands when KNOL gets established.
The problem here is that KNOL May take over a large part of the referencing capacity from other Social media sites. Especially for “normal” users who are already used to trusting Google with delivering the content they are looking for.
We may see a very large, and quick shift in traffic generation. We will definitely see changes occurring around us when the current big names scramble to counter whatever effect it has on them.
Time is no longer an issue – Were back to Quality
On Digg, you are the flower of the day, here one minute, gone the next.
But because KNOL published works are not going to be time sensitive. It is no longer enough to be the only person that day that posts on a topic. You have to be the best permanent to claim that particular spot. Now quality articles written with the utmost precision will be the best way to create a following.
One Digg – Hold the LinkBait
On many social media sites, Link bait and Flashy headlines combined with funny shtick photos is the mainstay of popularity. KNOL promises something else.
This is a new world, one where being the best social networker may no longer be enough to get anywhere. KNOL may just have cornered the market on quality.
Verification of Authors and SEO
Another interesting thing is how the voting of verified authors may or may not influence the search engine ranking of sites associated with that author in general. THIS may very well be the largest impact KNOL has on the online marketing world.
Google certainly has the power to penalize authors who are viewed as poor writers and translate that into their search algorithms.
This is not something where “wait and see” will be a good plan. Don’t for a second think that a social media endeavor, launched by Google, and with its sights set so squarely on some of the largest services out there will have anything less than earth shattering effects on the scene.