Let’s say you own a business. It’s a small business, and you’ve tried very, very hard to build it into something. Along the way, like most businesses, there have been bumps, but for the most part, you’ve got a bunch of customers who love you. Then one day, right in front of your door, someone puts up a huge billboard, and on it, they will allow anyone with anything to say about your business to put up whatever they want. All of a sudden you’ve got some really nasty comments about your business hanging there where any potential customer will see them.
Sounds, far fetched, huh? No one could get away with that, right?
Enter Google Sidewiki…an add on product to the Google Toolbar which opens a sidebar when you are visiting sites that allows you to comment about sites as you visit them. So now, instead of commenting on my blog, you could leave comments on Google Sidewiki, where I am unable to moderate them. Hence that troll who’s been stalking me, that one I banned from one of my sites, is now free to flame away, and the only recourse I have is to report him to big brother Google.
There’s no opt out here, no metadata I can add to my site to keep them from doing this. And frankly, because it’s Google, I’d really think long and hard before using it if there were, because one could reasonably expect at somepoint, they’ll find a way to make Sidewiki comments a component of my overall score in the Google algorithm. So opting out might make me liable to lose search position.
I spend enough of my time trying to work with Google, either watching my analytics position, or managing things in Google Webmaster, or working with Adsense. I don’t need yet another way for them to monetize me. How about, for a change, they make my life easier, not harder?