Pushnote; Google Sidewiki without the Flaws?

If you’re not following Stephen Fry on Twitter then there’s a chance that his latest internet venture, Pushnote, may have slipped under the radar. The 53 year old critically acclaimed actor, author and presenter announced the official launch of the innovative social platform via a tweet last Thursday (13/01) claiming that it “Makes the web one big democratic comment platform.”

Pushnote is a browser based plug-in that can be used to leave comments anywhere online. It shares similarities in concept with Google Sidewiki, however whilst Google Sidewiki eventually fizzled out, Pushnote is anticipated to have wider appeal. This is largely due to the fact that Pushnote has already stated that they will not track your activities online, which was a concern with Sidewiki. Another alluring aspect is that comments cannot be manipulated by website owners since they are made at a browser level; the result being that comments automatically receive assumed creditability.

In my opinion browser level commenting has been on the cards for a while, and Pushnote is certainly more than capable of taking up the mantle of bringing the concept to the fore. I love the fact that being at browser level means that sites are unable to censor feedback, leading to the prospect of scam & spam sites being ousted much more efficiently.

My first concern with Pushnote was “Won’t the spammers just start abusing Pushnote?” However as Pushnote uses a voting system which in time assigns each commentator a reputation; commentators posting false and questionable information will soon be identified and penalised. It is this “social networkesque” approach that has done much to allay my original fears and my criticisms of Sidewiki, whose own reputation structure was flawed and open for abuse.

Arguably, online retailers will be mopping a bead of sweat from their foreheads as they come to the realisation that they will be unable to censor any negative reviews or comments related to their products or service. I think it’s safe to say that this will not be a big hit with countless brands. Meanwhile those in the social marketing space will be drooling over the potential of Pushnote for monitoring services. Currently keeping a close eye on comments made on site and on social networking sites, etc is commonplace, undoubtedly Pushnote will be an imperative addition to this list. Additionally, Pushnote will provide yet another medium for listening to those who have taken the time to comment on your website, and just like Facebook or Twitter comments a swift response and paying special attention to negative feedback will demonstrate the transparency that is the key to being “social”.