Sunday, November 1, 2009

Google's Sidewiki - Business Implications or Not? What to Do, Now

We've been following the torrid discussion of Google's Sidewiki for a while now, essentially waiting for the dust to settle and Google to react to lots of commentary and feedback...

Sidewiki is essentially a plug-in for your browser, that comes along either with the Google Toolbar or using a bookmarklet, that lets you add and view comments about most webpages (doesn't work for https sites, for example). The problem is, it's either a way for some people to legitimately and helpfully add commentary on sites to the Google toolbar community, or a new way for spammers or troublemakers to basically "tag" your site with unwanted graffiti. It's actually both, right now, and website owners should take some steps to control their brand a bit.

Things to do:

1 - don't panic; auto-spamming hasn't started yet, and the culture of trust among the Google toolbar community is holding.

2 - either install Google toolbar or bookmarklet yourself, or ask someone else (like your webmaster or Internet Marketing company) - and then take a look at Sidewiki comments for your page; you'll likely have none, right now.

3 - if you can, verify and register your website with Google webmaster tools - and then post a Sidewiki entry with this Google ID, thereby establishing your entry as the verifiable, "trustworthy" one....note that a Sidewiki entry, like any other comment on the web, should be thoroughly "optimized" with keywords, links, and enough content to push most other comments down the first page. While Sidewiki results aren't currently indexed, and therefore don't contribute to page rankings (and you can't even find them), they probably will be at some point in the future.

See the sidewiki comment at our site,, for an example posting.

4 - if you feel compelled, do comment on other sites - but honestly, openly and true to Google's Terms of Service. It's not, however, untoward to let others know your "tagline", i.e., a backlink to a good source of support you may have already published that supports your comments (like your own website) isn't unexpected.

5 - let us know if you've got other comments, questions or concerns - we'll stay on top of this for our clients as it quickly develops.




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