Should Google’s Knol be part of your marketing toolkit?

Knol - A Unit of KnowledgeAfter a half year of testing, Google publicly launched its Knol service this week and the inter-webs are buzzing about how it will stack up against its similar encyclopedia-like competitors. As you’ll see from the comparison below, Knol is much less restrictive than Wikipedia when it comes to creating content.

Knol vs. Wikipedia

Right out of the gate there are several major differences between Knol and Wikipedia that make publishing information much more accessible. First, anyone can create a “Knol” (page) on any topic, even if its already been written about. It will be common to find multiple pages on the same subject written by different authors. Google doesn’t have a team of moderators to keep content aligned to a specific viewpoint, and multiple perspectives on topics are encouraged.

Each Knol author has complete control over the content they create. It can’t be modified or deleted without the author’s permission. Any subject can be written about as long as it falls under Knols’ Terms of Service and Content Policy. Unlike Wikipedia, self-promotion is acceptable as the content policy states “You may use Knol to create articles for your business or to promote your lawful products or services.

Once a Knol has been published, readers are free to post comments, assign a rating or write a review on the content. These abilities are clearly missing from Wikipedia and add an extra layer of interaction between the author and the reading community.

The final difference between Knol and Wikipedia lies in the author’s ability to monetize their content. Google AdSense banners can be placed on Knol pages to potentially generate small amounts of income as content becomes popular. One of Google’s biggest hurdles right now is the task of starting a knowledge-base from scratch. Hopefully this type of incentive will be enough to consistently attract writing talent and help build a repository worth returning to.

Google's Knol

The future of Knol

Just as I’ve done above, most articles being written about Knol immediately compare it to Wikipedia. How can you not when it’s the most well-known online information archive in the world? However, Knol really has more in common with and Seth Godin’s Both of these sites have the same ability to create un-moderated, monetized content, and Knol could potentially give them a run for their money.

While both Squidoo and HubPages give authors complete control over their content, they have not been widely used as alternatives to Wikipedia. Knol’s clean and professional design could be the just what this type of platform needs to attract businesses who have encountered multiple failed attempts to publish information there. At the same time, this is a double edged sword that could see Knol turning into a glorified business directory. Smart businesses will leverage the expertise they have in their respective verticals and publish high quality content that is not purely a marketing sell sheet.

Regardless, this is an ambitious addition to the Google product line-up, and it should be very interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years. What is your opinion of Knol? Will it survive and flourish or struggle to grow in the shadow of its rivals?

PerkettPR’s Heather Mosley on

PerkettPR’s own Executive Vice President, Heather Mosley, makes her second appearance on speaking about the adoption of Twitter for business use. Heather originally contributed her views to MyRaganTV on how PR professionals utilize social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs and Twitter as part of their recipe for success, after a speaking engagement at the 2008 Ragan Conference in Chicago. Account Director, Lisa Dilg was also quoted in the article that accompanies the video release. (You can follow Heather on Twitter via @mosleyppr, Lisa via @pprlisa and our agency via @PerkettPR)

Mzinga Acquires Prospero – Come join the conversation!

Mzinga acquires Prospero

PerkettPR client Mzinga announced today that it is acquiring Prospero, a fellow Massachusetts-based social media platform builder. Both companies excel in the creating white-label social media platforms that allow companies to create feature-rich online communities. This merger clearly places Mzinga in the spotlight as the leader in business oriented social networking. The true question lies in how this will affect other white-label providers in this space.

Notable social media bloggers such as Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang and Scott Monty have already posted on the merger and shared their views on what the future might hold in this space. What is your take on the future of white-label social media platforms or even social media for corporations in general? To help answer that question, leaders from the newly formed Mzinga along with PerkettPR and Topaz Partners will be hosting a Twitter-based Q&A session throughout today (Monday, March 3rd).

Feel free to follow and converse with any of us on Twitter:

Mzinga/Prospero: Aaron Strout, Jim Storer, Colin Browing, and Heather Strout
PerkettPR: Jeff Glasson, Lisa Dilg and our corporate presence
Topaz Partners: Doug Haslam and Sandy Kalik

Additional Reading:

TechCrunch – More Consolidation in the White Label Social Networking Space: Mzinga Acquires Prospero

Mashable – Mzinga Acquires Prospero to Grow Online Community Solutions Sector

ReadWriteWeb – Enterprise Community Provider Mzinga Swallows Prospero

CenterNetworks – Mzinga Raises $32.5 Million and Acquires Prospero Business Social Networking Platform Provider

Aaron Strout, Mzinga – Red Letter Day

Jim Storer, Mzinga – Following the Mzinga/Prospero News

Colin Browning – Social Media: Working Behind The Scenes

Tech PR Gems – What do you do when a social media client has big news?

This event is a great example of social media companies actually putting social media tools to use and engaging in conversation to benefit the community. We look forward to chatting with you. See you in the Twittersphere!

Jeff Pulver’s Social Media Breakfast Tour

Boston is a great place to be if your job revolves around social media. Each month you can count on multiple events taking place, and all of them are supported by a tight-knit bunch of social media and PR professionals.

One such event is the Social Media Breakfast, which was the brainchild of Boston’s own Bryan Person. Bryan founded the concept of the Social Media Breakfast in 2007 and has successfully organized four events to date. His fifth is scheduled for February 13th in Cambridge, Massachusetts and reservations quickly filled up in a few days. Jeff Pulver also brought his flavor of social media to Boston in 2007 in the form of his “Real-Time Social Networking” event which he started in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

The concept is simple. Take online activities like “tagging” or posting on your friend’s wall and apply them to a real person! Jeff provides small stickers for real-time tagging and Post-It notes for people who want to post to each other’s walls. His first of these events in Bean-town was a well received evening affair at Vox Populi. His second was a mash-up between between Bryan’s SMB concept and his own real-time networking idea. Are you ready to move to Boston yet?

Fortunately for those outside of Boston, Jeff has begun taking the Person/Pulver mash-up on the road as “Breakfast with Pulver (and friends).” Scheduled dates for February include:

A date for San Jose, California is also scheduled for March 17th, but will be specifically for friends attending the Spring 2008 VON.x Conference. Additional events for Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, Montreal, Nashua, London (UK) and more are being planned for futures dates. A Facebook account is required to get more details on each event and to RSVP.

Employees of PerkettPR will be at Jeff’s Breakfast in Providence on the February 12th as well as Bryan’s Social Media Breakfast in Cambridge on the 13th. I highly recommend attending one or more of the events if you reside in or near any of the cities listed. Its guaranteed to be great time filled with food, fun and networking. Besides, where else can you cover someone with stickies in public and get away with it?!

Sermo Named Media Brand of the Year

Congratulations to our client, Sermo, who was named Media Brand of the Year by Medical Marketing & Media. We are particularly excited about this accomplishment because Sermo took a chance in 2006 with PerkettPR – one of the only firms they interviewed that did not have a dedicated healthcare division – and it continues to be a fruitful relationship for both companies. We worked closely with their marketing team all year to spread the word about this one-of-a-kind community for physicians – and helped it to grow to 40,000 doctors and counting.

Sermo continues to revolutionize healthcare. The discussions held, and decisions made, within the community positively impact not only physicians, but the patients they care for and the pharmaceutical companies that want to forge a safer and more productive future through a more efficient exchange of knowledge and resources. Sermo is a Web-based community where physicians share observations from daily practice, discuss emerging trends and provide new insights into medications, devices and treatments.

“And since physicians have never before been able to talk with a unified
voice in such impressive numbers, sharing observations and insight
about treatments, drugs, devices and biologics, we expect Sermo to
continue to rock the pharma marketing world for some time to come.”

We couldn’t agree more! We are extremely proud of this award, thankful for such an interesting and savvy client, and excited to share even more interesting developments about Sermo in the year to come. Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Palestrant, Founder & CEO; Gina Ashe, CMO; Greg Shenk, Director of Communications and the entire team at Sermo! What a year!