Seth Godin has ruffled feathers for years in the blogosphere by not allowing comments on his blog. He's stated flatly that he appreciates your feedback, but if you want to leave comments, you're going to have to do it somewhere else, besides on his blog. In fact in 2006 he flatly stated that "So, bloggers who like comments, blog on. Commenters, feel free. But not here. Sorry."
But that was back in 2006.
Last week, Google launched a browser add-on (For only IE and FireFox, no Chrome, yet) called SideWiki. What SideWiki allows you to do is comment on any webpage, and read comments that other people have written. If you want to comment on the content provided, you can do so. If you want to reference a point made and provide more information, you can do that. The screenshot above is a bit hard to see, but it's Seth's Brands in Public post from last week that caused quite a stir. Seth still doesn't allow comments directly on his blog, but notice that if you use SideWiki, you can read comments that others have left on this post.
If you create online content, your world just changed.
With SideWiki, you now have the ability to review any product, right there on the company's website. And you can read what others have said. But you also have the ability to respond to other commenters, and engage them, as Jeremiah did here.
This is just another example of how empowered consumers have become, and how their ability to express themselves online can no longer be ignored. As with other social tools, this will be a potential problem for companies that ignore it, and a potential advantage for companies that embrace it.
What do you think about SideWiki? Is it a great thing, or is it wrong for bloggers such as Seth to have control taken away from them with something like SideWiki? And remember, just as customers would now have the ability to leave comments on a company's website, couldn't competitors do the same thing? Should they be able to?
A lot to consider and digest, but either way, I would advise taking a look at SideWiki and becoming familiar with what it does, cause it might just be the future.