Back in December of last year when Google announced the whole Knol idea I wrote a post titled “Knol – a potential fertile ground for smart spammers and marketers?” that like the headline said suggested that this new endeavor from Google would end up be nothing more than a repository of spam links. In the post I said in no uncertain terms
Space changing maybe but I know one thing for sure. Knol; or whatever they end up calling it, will become the fertile ground for the best of the best smart spammers and marketers.
This of course was opposite of what the more popular bloggers were saying at the time that this would be a serious game changer. M.G. Siegler from his ParisLemon blog suggested that this would be because of money
Google obviously is not stupid. They saw all the traffic going to Wikipedia from their searches and likely thought: “why don’t we make our own”? The question would be why, when Wikipedia is already so firmly established? Well because if you read closely, authors will have the option to put Google Ads on the pages. Cha-ching.
Duncan Riley who was still at TechCrunch at the time said it would be a game changer:
this month its a new project called “Knol” (which apparently stands for a unit of knowledge), a user generated knowledge project that combines parts of Wikipedia and Squidoo (and to a lesser extent Mahalo) into what could easily turn out to game changer in this space.
Well the other day Knol finally went public and since that point we have been reading all kinds of posts about how spammy the service was. Duncan who is now the driving force behind The Inquisitr appears to have changed his mind on this game changing idea with his post on July 28 where he suggests Knol now equals spam
Then there are those targeting content in high paying keywords, for example adding Knol entries on terms such as Insurance, their goal being not to provide the best knowledge on the service, but to get high paying clicks via the ads Google show on each page. There’s even a blog dedicated to doing just that.
Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins over at Mashable has been watching Knol as it has moved forward and he as well believes; regardless of what some of the commenters on his posts say, that Knol is indeed becoming a new home for splogs using an email conversation as proof
This morning I received the URGENT ALERT that a mere three days after the launch of Google’s Knol, he’s already created an automated Knol article generator.[..]
As you can tell, the purpose of this software isn’t to create valuable “Knol units” or to spread the altruistic dream of free knowledge for all, but to create Knols with the purpose to squat on as much namespace as possible while attempting to reap the rewards of high value links from the Google domain these articles will sit on.
As he points out in his demonstration of the automation software, the articles don’t need to be particularly informative or even original, so long as they are long, plentiful, and moderately relevant to the keyword.
This use of Knol to grab keywords has been noticed by others as well. As Aaron Wall from SEO Book wrote on July 28th as well
From the above data (and the aggressive promotion of YouTube content after the roll out of universal search) it is fair to state that house content is favored by the Google algorithm.
For me though had to be Doc Searls’ post today where he comes right out and says that Knol is becoming a den of spam
My cursory research, at that link, suggests that the answer is yes. “Anemia“? No results. “Hair“? 12, including several (supposedly) by the top guy at the Beauty Network. “Cancer“? 38, so far, inncluding three in the first page of results for the biggest spam giveaway, Mesothelioma. Search for anything. Watch the results.
See … I told you so
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