The recent announcement of Google’s new project – Google Knol – prompted this post from Seth Godin. Having been a Squidoo Lensmaster for about a year now – I see no reason to believe Google Knol will negatively affect Squidoo.
Although Knol and Squidoo have similar business models – the motives behind the creation of content for them aren’t the same.
For example, anyone familiar with Squidoo understands that a quality lens is the key to building traffic and a successful lens. In this case, quality equals usefulness, remarkable or something worth saying twice. If you’re familiar with Seth Godin – you understand this type of usefulness has nothing to do with “appealing to the masses” and everything to do with world views of individuals in “small groups”.
The announcement of Google Knol suggests that a quality Knol will be dependent on a number of “Google defined” factors – which could be thought of as “an appeal to the masses”. For example, a quality Knol about holsters might need to include content about gun holsters (i.e. ankle holsters, shoulder holsters, hip holsters, etc.), cell phone holsters, flashlight holsters, etc.
You can see the difference? The goal of someone generating content for a quality Google Knol is to be “blessed” by Google with organic traffic (think about the Adsense potential). Whereas, a Squidoo lensmaster isn’t concerned with organic Google traffic – she’s focusing on what’s remarkable and worth saying twice. If she creates that – traffic will come.
In this way, Squidoo will always have an advantage over Google Knol. Google needs “the masses” – Squidoo doesn’t want them – not in that way.