It’s an amazing thing that Googling for a multinational, billion dollar brand, will give you results that those companies would much prefer you didn’t use. But just like everything else, what counts as the de facto representation of brands online today, will change entirely in the next year.
This post is a lot of speculation and prediction, but stay with me.
Lets start by taking a look at how things work right now
Brands in the Age Wikipedia
Because of many factors dealing with SEO, Wikipedia pages are consistently top search results for medium to large brands. For consumers the Wikipedia pages are fulled with useful information about: Brands history, products and services, as well as controversies, issues, and other less than positive items that generally don’t present well for brands.
Brands have very little influence and power on the pages representing their brands on the website, the most they can really do without calling into question transparency issues is fix factual errors by providing evidence. Anything else calls into question too many issues regarding transparency and conflicts of interests that even attempts to edit their Wikipedia page can become a public issue.
Nothing new I know, but brands are generally pretty bad at dealing with Wikipedia’s representation of their brand and the impact it has (Another post for another time).
The Opening of
I’m not a fan of app focused posts myself, but when Facebook opened up its fan pages, and started giving them simple URLs like http://www.facebook.com/TED, they did more than just give fan pages a bit more visibility and easier to remember addresses.
What they also did was give brands a community centric communtity presence, that they are in complete control of.
That’s a huge deal.
Wall, Info, Discussions, Videos, Notes, Events, Photos… There are all tools plugged into the Facebook community, arguably the biggest community in existence, which are what people might be looking for to really interact with a brand. And by these fan pages being not requiring to be logged in, Google will finally be able to index these corporate presences on Facebook, and by being the central source of activity for tens or hundreds of thousands of people, it might surpass Wikipedia in terms of metrics for traffic, relevance, and frequency of updates.
The main difference between having Facebook Fan pages being the primary Google result for your brand instead of Wikipedia is that on Facebook the brand controls the message.
Brands will have a large, crowd focused platform, that has high visibility, where they can communicate their brand across various rich media, be closely tied in with social, but still be in complete control.
That’s a win. That’s a big win that would really move around these pillars of the web to some degree.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on how plausibe or likely this could be. What do you think?