Google Sidewiki and the Webmaster

On the whole I love the applications offered by Google but they have recently launched one that stops me in my tracks and makes me ask “why?”. I am talking about Google Sidewiki.

Google Sidewiki can be downloaded with Google tool bar and enables anyone with a Google profile (if you use gmail you have one) to write comments on any web page they visit. The results of anyone who has commented on the page show up in a sidebar which is layered above the page.

Google has essentially introduced a comments forum for every web site on the internet. You can gets comments on your site for the whole world to see whether you like it or not.

As the owner of a Google Validated site (which is achieved using Google Webmaster tools) you get the chance to have “first say” with a comment which will always feature as the first post. But as far as being able to control what visitors see in the Sidewiki, the buck stops there. As a webmaster there is no easy option to turn off the Sidewiki and no functionality to moderate the comments. If you get a spam or a detrimental comment there appears to be be very little you can do about it. Also there is no functionality to let webmasters know they have new comments. The only way to find out is to visit each and every page of your site. How useful is that?

I have put in a complaint to Google and hope that if they continue with Sidewiki they address these problems soon.

© 2009 St Louis Web Designer

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