Sidewiki is something that I had just heard about and really didn’t know much about until now. As far as I can tell, it is a Google toolbar plug and it lets anyone to write anything on the side of the webpage and there is no monitoring to it. It is a serious freedom of speech and basically people can say whatever about your business, you or your website that they want.
What sidewiki is, is a place for people to voice their opinions on that website. There will be a banner along the border and you will be able to say how you feel about the website. So people will be allowed to make comments that everyone can see and there will be very little monitoring of the site by Google. There will be a place to report if you find something terrible on it, but for the most part it is all about freedom of speech.
There will be a process in place which you can complain that a comment infringes on your copyright, but can you see how far that complaint service will get you? It really is more about the freedom of speech and getting to say how you feel.
As many things as Sidewiki offers, will it wind up being the latest thing or a thing of the past? This remains to be seen, but when a similar service was offered in the form of pop ups in 1999 it was called Third Voice and the public demanded that they get rid of it. Ironically this idea that Sidewiki is using is actually something that began in the early nineties with the Mosaic 1.2 an annotation system that was overloaded and failed.
The problem with this is that if one person has a bad or even mediocre experience with your company, you will have to worry about them posting their feelings online and it may make you look bad for other customers. Even if you have great service 999 out of 1000 times, that one person who isn’t happy may ruin it for you by speaking out.