Wednesday Web Resource: Get a Second Opinion Using Marginize

learn more about Mikal E. Belicove

By Mikal E. Belicove

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In Don'tBelieve Everything You See on the Web, columnistFrancine Schill writes that "just because a company has an awesome websitedoesn't mean it's legitimate." Francine is absolutely right. Let's face it,tossing up a sophisticated looking site these days is as easy as dressing up asyour favorite character from Mad Menthis Halloween.

The availability of contentmanagement systems (CMS's) and thousands of free and cheap website templateshas opened the door for nearly anyone to create a trustworthy looking businessonline.

So as an entrepreneur andbusiness owner, how do you know whom to trust and do business with? Among themany options you have is to turn elsewhere on the web and tap into the socialdialogue about the company or brand in question. And that's what leads me tothis week's Wednesday Web Resource... Marginize Founded in early 2010 and basedout of Cambridge, Mass., Marginizeallows anyone to engage with or read others' comments on any website -- independentlyfrom the owner of the site -- by using a free browser add-on or bookmarklet.Once the add-on or bookmarklet is deployed, a new sidebar appears in the rightmargin of the web page, where anyone can read and interact via comments andcheck-ins (think of "check-ins" as Foursquare for websites). As a result, everywebsite now has an ad-hoc message board, whether the site's owner wants it ornot! (For an example of how this works for this particular page you're readingright now, click this link:

Pre-populated with the mostrecent and archived user-generated content about the company or brand(primarily from Twitter, one cursory look is all it takes to form an opinionand learn more from what others have to say. Marginize's founder, Ziad Sultan, says that's exactly the point.

"Whether people are interestedin buying the same product or are looking for reputable companies or services,Marginize enables the conversation to naturally take place between theseparties, even though many websites would rather avoid this," says Sultan.

If you're the type who readsbetween the lines, you're probably starting to see that Marginize can be usedfor and against your business. As aresult of anyone being able to participate, it's quite conceivable yourcompetitors or detractors can be using Marginize to raise questions about yourcompany or services -- which is exactly what's happening elsewhere on the web.This is why I strongly recommend that every entrepreneur with a website startusing the free Marginize browser add-on orbookmarklet to see what's being said about their own business or brandonline. Having access to this type of information enables you to addressreal-time issues and opportunities on your own terms, as opposed to remainingignorant to the fact that both helpful and harmful dialogue is occurring.

While Marginize's current focusis on leveraging content from Twitter, Iwouldn't be surprised if in the next few months we start seeing content from Yelp, StumbleUponand other user-generated recommendation engines that freely share informationfor public consumption, make its way into Marginize's stream.

For more information, or todownload the free Marginize browser add-on or bookmarklet, visit

Mikal E. Belicove

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. 

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