In an extremely audacious move Squidoo has launched a new service called Brands in Public which could cause quite a few headaches for marketing departments. Squidoo plans to create hub pages about lots of brands and then populate those pages with scraped content such as blog posts, tweets, Google News, Yahoo News, Google Trends, forum posts and a whole host of other content (see example here).
Once these pages have been created Squidoo is going to allow brands to pay $400 per month for the right to add comments on them.
Here is what Seth Godin Squidoo founder has to say about the product:
If your brand has any traction at all, people are talking about you. Of course, they’ve always talked about you, but now they’re doing it in writing, in video and in public.
Today, Squidoo (a company I founded) is launching Brands in Public. It’s a neat idea and I wanted to give you an overview and a first look.
You can’t control what people are saying about you. What you can do is organize that speech. You can organize it by highlighting the good stuff and rationally responding to the not-so-good stuff. You can organize it by embracing the people who love your brand and challenging them to speak up and share the good word. And you can respond to it in a thoughtful way, leaving a trail that stands up over time.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen big brands (like Amazon and Maytag) get caught in a twitterstorm. An idea (one that’s negative to the brand) starts and spreads, and absent a response, it just spirals. Of course, Amazon can’t respond on their home page (they’re busy running a store) and they don’t have an active corporate blog that I could find, so where? How?
I’m all for brands having an outlet for things but the outlet should be something that is 100% under their control such as a blog or social media account. Answering back on a Squidoo page where they have very little control of the content is a terrible idea.