Let’s say that anybody could write comments on your Web site that were visible to third parties and that you couldn’t prevent it. Those comments might include links to competitive Web sites or products, defamatory statements, or just unwelcome negative comments. And let’s say that your only recourse, if you felt the comments were inappropriate, would be to e-mail a complaint to an enormous media company that might or might not agree that the comments should be removed.

Well, if you download and install the Google Toolbar, and navigate to your Web site, you can find out if that is happening on your site right now.

A we discussed in October at our 15th annual seminar (“New Media, Technology and the Law:
Issues on the Near Horizon,” Google recently debuted the “Sidewiki” function on the Google Toolbar. Google touts the Sidewiki functionality as allowing users “to contribute helpful information next to any  webpage.” But brand managers and Web site owners may not think that some of the information that is contributed by users of the Sidewiki functionality is “helpful” at all.