Brand under attack

Brands are loosing control on the net. Not new.
It started in social media where people can freely have conversations to share experiences, thoughts and ideas about them (though, to be honest, a tiny fraction of the overall conversations do talk about brands in reality).
So far, Brand’s website were left intact.

By now, all of you have heard of Google Sidewiki and Squidoo brands in public.

Both news hit the wire at about the same time (last week of September) and, as shown in the picture below, have generated quite a lof of buzz and polemics in the social media marketing community (#1200 blogs, 800 conversations per day).

Sidewiki

They have something in common:

  1. Aggregation of fairly exploded information: They aggregate  in a centralized way social information about a brand.
  2. Loss of control for Brands. Sidewiki truely increases the power shift to consumers as they are now able to share what they think of a brand right on a brand’s prime real estate. It’s not clear if you can opt-out…at least you can claim your sidewiki. Brand in public does it in a more subtle way: Nowadays, we always go to social media to find more about a brand. Brands in Public puts it all in one place…making it possible that we go there first to find more about a brand, as we’ve grown tired of websites that tell the same story after you remove brand’s specific content.
  3. They’re public

Let’s stop the comparison here. Sidewiki and Brands in Public aren’t the same kind of beast.

For squidoo, which plans to charge brands $5k/year.. it’s  about making revenue.  But stitching together information that can be found easily using free tools may not cut it.
For google, the agenda has to be more strategic. After all it’s Google, the company that aims to organize the world of information.
Considering that 1) information is more and more consumed/accessed through ‘conversations’ and 2) Google has been so far absent of that battle from which emerged Facebook, Twitter to name the most popular, they surely must be trying to catch-up.  Sidewiki makes any page on the internet social. Add that Google Wave brings together many social networking paradigms and you start to see an agenda:

When you control the world of keywords, you control information consumption -web1.0

When you control the world of people’s interaction, you control conversation consumption -web2.0

And markets are conversations.

Google has won the first battle and is now pushing its pawns in order to win the next chess game. Not by building another social network where we have to go to, but by making social the places where we have traditionally gone for our information/knowledge need (search, websites, email).

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