The implications of Google Sidewiki on PR

When this launched in September this year, I was intrigued about how other consultants might use this. The way this works is that it allows anyone to leave comments on your website. This must scare brand managers like crazy; if people that dislike your brand, they can let it be known to all other sidewiki users; but saying that the system can also be gamed by those who are anticipating scorn, maybe with ‘fans’ countering criticism that are actually members of that company’s PR team? They say that everything’s traceable by your IP address, but surely all a not-so-scrupulous person needs is a fake login made from an Internet cafe? Maybe I’m just dodgy for even thinking about this.

Incidentally I reckon the rule of thumb for dealing with this (if of course it doesn’t go the way of Google Notebook) is to treat it like a blog that you have no control over: watch it for comments, join in and talk where necessary, use it as a litmus test for knowing which problems you need to deal with first. The truth is that unless you’re a tech brand or a company that is always in the eye of the Twittering classes, the likelihood of Sidewiki really impacting customers’ view of you is minimal at this stage.  It’s easy to install and use and doesn’t require faffing about like Wikipedia (which some of my less techy friends find too fiddly to experiment with), so the possibility of it growing in popularity is quite possible; especially amongst microbloggers, fanboys/girls and tech savvy NGOs/pressure groups.

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