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Google Knol

Updated on March 30, 2013

Knol was once supposed to be a cross between HubPages and wikipedia. user-written articles on a wide range of subjects.

Google has since discontinued it. But the I am keeping the information here as a historical document so others may see what once was.

Knol had the option of allowing contributions on individual pages by other members, but these changes were vetted by the original author.

A knol author could monetize their pages via Google Adsense, with 100% of the page views and revenue to the page owner. A person must first submit an application to Adsense for consideration for approval to the program. You would have needed some kind of track record already, whether that be published Knols or having your own blog or an account at HubPages.

My earnings in the space of about about two years totaled about... 2 cents. So you can see why Knol was discarded by Google.

What's in a name?

Google defines knol as meaning "a unit of knowledge" when the project was announced in December 2007

Knol opened to public beta in July 2008 and within six months the site had grown to 100,000 articles

Users from almost 200 countries visit Knol every day

How Knol Works

  • Any contributor can create a new knol, even if the topic has been published before. So there might be multiple articles on the same subject.
  • An author can be the sole contributor, or co-authors can be allowed, or even made open to the public.
  • Ads can be shown, the revenue being attributed to the knol owner. What is allowed in terms of content is defined under the site ToS and also under the Adsense Programme Policies.
  • In October 2008, Google enabled French, Italian and German versions.
  • Contributors sign in via their existing Google account and are supposed to state their real names.
  • Readers with Google accounts can comment and rate articles.
  • All outgoing links on a knol are "nofollow", to negate the worth of spammers using the service in terms of SEO benefits.


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    • darkside profile image

      Glen 6 years ago from Australia

      Earnings success with Knol? I'm yet to discover it! :D

    • jpwriter profile image

      jpwriter 6 years ago

      Have you used Knol or know of anyone who has with any earnings success?

      I have written a few. But, nothing w/earnings. Few views, too, but it's not like I've put as much work there as other sites.

    • darkside profile image

      Glen 8 years ago from Australia

      Yes, to HubPages. And it should be a yes for Knol as well. But double check that if you're thinking about doing any.

    • Rebecca J. Scott profile image

      Rebecca J. Scott 8 years ago

      Does the author retain copyright relating to articles they have written that are posted on HubPages or Knol, do you know?

    • darkside profile image

      Glen 8 years ago from Australia

      spradlig, it's funny that you mention about Adsense earnings, because a few hours ago I was checking my Adsense earnings for Knol and since March I have 1 cent earning. And it's got to be a CPM campaign.

      I had a bunch of draft articles, 10 in fact, of things I was planning on publishing on Knol. Not now. For me, HubPages is beating it hands down.

    • profile image

      spradlig 8 years ago from Colorado

      I wrote a few knols for Control Systems (my area of engineering expertise) when it first opened up. My assumption was that being a Google property it would get a little extra cache from Google's search algorithms. Well my knols never drove more than a handful of traffic to my site. In fact I think my site ranked before for certain keywords before my knols did.

      In fact my knols are of so little use SEO, traffic, or AdSense wise that I'd completely forgotten about them until I read this hub.

      I wouldn't bother - yet - but I would keep an eye out for knol growing in importance. It just isn't mature yet - IMO. The NO FOLLOW is really irritating.

      One other nit I had about the knol. I was writing engineering articles with math in them. On most sites the math is displayed as an image which is rendered from some scripting code (a variant of LaTeX, for those few who are familiar with it). Knol has no built in support for math so I had to manually alter the HTML to generate the images of my equations. That's a real pain.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      Great article!

      I have been keeping an eye on Knol for some time now but haven't tried it yet.

      I wanted to know how does it perform in terms of traffic and earnings. Like HubPages is a nice place when it comes down to traffic and earnings, so how is Knol if you compare it with HP?

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      This is interesting as I often find Wikipedia pages with very little information and think it would be useful to provide an article.