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Sidewiki is a new addition to the Google Toolbar that will let users read comments on any Web site and add their own in a special interface on the left hand side of the screen enabled by the toolbar. This idea has been tried before by others, but Google is proposing to use an algorithm to rank comments by quality and to link comments to a user's Google Profile.
Google has developed an algorithm that it says can filter out obvious spam, naughty words, and the classic all-caps technique employed by some of the Internet's more unhinged pundits, said Caesar Sengupta, group product manager at Google. As comments build over time, a recursive algorithm can analyze the quality of past comments using reader votes on the comment's usefulness.You can share your comments with your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and can post a link to a blog item discussing that Web page with a snippet of the text, Sengupta said. Only Google Toolbar users will be able to see the comments on the Web page, obviously, but Google plans to work on an API (application programming interface) that will allow developers to use Sidewiki in other places.
If not, why would the misguided "bounce rate" even be shown in g analytics
I can think of two reasons:
1) It was already in Urchin when G bought it for GA
2) It can be useful data for the webmaster, and theoretically Ga is supposed to be there as a webmaster service - and to help them spend their Adwords dollars along the way.
This comment nonsense, though - the whole world has gone mad with social media fever. A soapbox for everyone!
the whole world has gone mad with social media fever
You'll notice an interesting trend recently.
Google is 2-3 years BEHIND the forefront of the internet.
This won't last long.
I would calmly explain to Google attys who've been known to read these boards that:
someone, somewhere is going to misuse this "feature" in a slanderous and libel manner towards a Fortune500 big boy and Goog Inc will named as a CO-DEFENDANT in the suit for not using HUMAN editors to police and remove said comments. :)
Even more than my analysis about incorrect PR bar status, this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
[edited by: whitenight at 9:16 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2009]
It's fine with me if people discuss my sites on other sites...
But Google is just another web site. Right?
This reminds me of the ol' Abuzz.com. Very different, but still "wisdom of the crowds." Solution 1's point is well taken--Google is not just another web site. That's the only reason this is worth watching.
I think it's going to flop. This sounds very 1999 to me.
you give people a voice and they'll quickly prove they don't deserve it.
A soapbox for everyone!
Not that I necessarily have an answer to improve the situation...
(Or that I may not have even participated in it on occasion...)
Now all the people who use the Web can be reviewers all the time.
I wonder how many people will actually use this, though?
From an ecom perspective, I can't help but feel this takes the worst aspects of the ebay feedback system, and lowers the tone. I mean, at least with ebay you have to actually buy something.
Its Wikipedia without the "quality" control. Got an opinion on a website? Publish it for the world.
Like MatthewHSE says, time was when your opinions were peer-reviewed before you got a soapbox to shout them at the world. Now, you just need a blog or even social media page. Soon, even that will be superfluous, only an opinion required.
As for rankings, can you imagine Google putting up with a situation where all the top 10 results have comments such as "waste of time", "rip off merchant", "factually incorrect" all over them? I can't. Thus, either ranking will feed back into the comment system, or comments will feed back into ranking. Or there will be editorial review, which I can't see.
I wonder if there are long-term hopes of using this data to influence rankings. (shudder)
Sites without comment capability have been ranking above sites that have it in places like G's blog search for a long while now. Influencing rankings meant either getting rid of that ability completely or forcing registration and not displaying comments on page unless logged in. I suppose using sidewiki may mean that people can comment again without needing to have any traces of a comment section in your page code.
Personally, if I want people to comment, I'll add the option to the page myself. I don't like forced add-ons much.
[edited by: JS_Harris at 8:59 am (utc) on Sep. 24, 2009]
if I want people to comment, I'll add the option to the page myself. I don't like forced add-ons much.
I agree, and that's why many have blogs, to allow feedback.
If you want to see your feedback you'll have to install the toolbar. That's rather pushy in my view.
This goes down as one of Google's bad ideas, imho.
I hope there will be an opt-out for webmasters who want to moderate the discussion in order to reach a higher level.
sounds horrible to me.. it sounds so 1999 as others have put it and if MS had announced such tripe the uproar would have had this threat into 100s of pages already.
For what it's worth, Google has built some checks and balances into Sidewiki, but those checks and balances make it even more unwieldy than it would if it were a simple comment system: Not only are users expected to review pages, but they're also expected to review each other. How many users are going to bother? And if your e-commerce competitor does write "Wallys-widgets.com sucks" or "Wendys-whatsits.com has terrible customer service," what percentage of Wally's or Wendy's prospects will even see those comments?
Sidewiki may be a noble experiment, or it may be an ignoble experiment, but it's just an experiment, and not all experiments succeed.
Seriously though I really can't see this lasting too long. I don't get the incentive to comment on a site unless I was the owner or the competition...or really really bored.
Personally, I'm optimistic. Sure there's lot's of negatives, but there's also lots of positives. Sure there will be a lot of spam/idiots/slanderous commenting, but as has happened in every other outlet (Blog comments? Email? IM Spam? Craigslist?) it will soon be recognizable and ignorable.
As a site-owner I am nervous, especially since this is Google, but if this thing is here to stay I would rather plan and strategize than moan and complain.
spam/idiots/slanderous commenting, but as has happened in every other outlet (Blog comments? Email? IM Spam? Craigslist?) it will soon be recognizable and ignorable.
if it was recognizable and igorable all of the above wouldn't be booming. IM bot spam got so bad in the AIM chat networks that its totally gone. The mainstream public is still getting ripped of from spam and craigslist fraud.
The answer is yes, quite easily. If only GTB users see the garbage then I would consider blocking them from my personal sites (can't do it for my customers 'cause they'd lose revenue).
The corollary is: how does a non-GTB-user such as me know whether there are comments about my site in the first place? Will google tell us when they are posted? (hollow laughter) Even if they tried they'd get it as badly wrong as google alerts!
One of my customers gets a load of complaints because a scammer is using almost the same site name (eg Wally's Widgets) as him - just the word "Inc" is missing from the scammer. People look at google, see the vital two words and fill in the form on his web site or email him on the erroneous assumption he's the scammer, despite an obvious disclaimer on the site. There are complaints on blogs and forums all over the web already that he's had to reply to.
Imagine if they latch on to this google garbage. What would that do to his trade? And could he sue google for allowing defamation? Or even get them to do a take-down. I know google is big but early on it was established that in some circumstances the "carrier" is liable for content (agreed the one I'm thinking of was a newsgroup posting).
Of course, google is only doing the same as dozens of "read about this site here" sites that they list in place of the actual sites.
For a variety of reasons I am not a fan of M$ but I'm beginning to hope bing catches on real fast! :(