Wishful Thinking 3.0

According to Newsweek, “the expert is back”. People now crave reliable information, preferably created by paid professionals. What’s more, expert-created content is Web 3.0. And exhibit no. 1 is * drumrolls * Google Knol. You know, the Wikipedia-killer that was launched last December amid great fanfare, and which still has only one (1) article/knol on offer. If you want to read up on insomnia, Google Knol is definitely the place to be. For the rest of human knowledge, Wikipedia still rules.

If Knol doesn’t satisfy you, you could always enter a search term in Mahalo, a brand new “people-powered search engine” that is “based on quality and vetted by real people” (how this model differs from your run-of-the-mill user generated content eludes me). When I search for my surname, Newt Gingrich is the top hit. Do the same in Google, and the Newth family website gets highest ranking. So much for real people, apparently…

But seriously: it’s really too bad that this is such an amateurishly researched hack piece. As a professional writer and blogger, I am occasionally paid for writing stuff that ends up on the web, and of course I hope that this will evolve into new business models. I just don’t trust former AOL executives or Andrew Keen to tell me how it will be accomplished. Keen’s statement really is a gem, even for him: “Nobody wants to advertise next to crap.” Right. Which is why Adsense is such a failure. ;-)

3 thoughts on “Wishful Thinking 3.0

  1. Gee, Eirik, why don’t you tell us how you really feel…. I tried mahalo just now, and the top entry was “#
    Featured: Amy Winehouse shocks friends by snorting vodka at club”, which in my book doesn’t even sound like news, much less quality. On the other hand, a tabbed interface to all the other search engines was useful. Especially when the experts aren’t around.

  2. What seems really odd is that the Newsweek article doesn’t mention Citizendium, Wikipedia co-founder and Professor of Philosophy at Ohio University, Larry Sanger’s new effort to combine the best of the two worlds in a peer-produced encyclopedia with editorial influence by experts. So far it’s not anywhere close to being comparable in size to its better known fore-runner, but it seems to be growing pretty fast, and it’s certainly thinking in a long perspective.

  3. Karl Arthur: Point taken. It’s not like we don’t use lot of professionally produced content already (in my line of work, nasa.gov is an excellent source of information). Or that user-generated content excludes professional content. More and more I find myself using Wikipedia’s reference section as a source of links to peer-reviewed content, for instance. The perceived conflict between user- and peer-generated content makes for an tantalizing journalistic angle, but for most of us it probably doesn’t exist at all.

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