Writers has now a good occasion to make profit. Google launched this week Google Knol, the user-generated encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia. And every author can earn money from his work, depending on the hits of his articles
Google official blog says that “Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects.“, “The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content.”
The main principle of Knol is the “moderated collaboration”, meaning that the readers can suggest changes of a knol and the author will accept it or not. It’s the author’s option to include ads from the AdSense program, and to be paid this way.
It will become Google Knol a better authoritative source than Wikipedia? The fact that the articles will be owned by Google and paid through AdSense tells us that there will be a heaven for spammers (it seems that already Knol articles are better placed than Wikipedia in the Google search results). Also, comment links don’t have rel=nofollow, untill now, at least. It depends on how Google will manage it. On the other hands, the payment of the article will attract more and better authors than Wikipedia.
Anyway, unlike Wikipedia, where the articles are managed and valued by the community, in Google Knol the articles are managed by the authors and valued by the users.
My guess is the next acquisition of Google of Digg will have an important role in Google Knol.
Two very interesting notes from the Knol ToS: “you grant to Google a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide and royalty-free right and license to use, copy, distribute, transmit, modify, create derivative works based on… “, and “you may use Knol to create articles for your business or to promote your lawful products or services that are not otherwise prohibited by our Content Policy or Terms of Service”
The default settings for the articles is set to a Creative Commons license
So, it depends on Google management to become No. 1 in user’s encyclopedia. And, as far as we know Google, it never disappointed.