It seems like it is the season for agency site redesigns as Modernista! relaunched their site last week. With the site re-design they again went the route of using an interesting new technique for the core of their site but this time they took it to a whole new level. They turned the site into a redirected rollover HTML menu that appears on the top left corner on many established sites including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr. You can mouse over and check out the agency’s portfolio on Flickr, an about section through Wikipedia, latest agency news through Google News spot work through YouTube and contact then via AIM or Skype.
The site launch did hit a big snag when days after its debut Wikipedia yanked it from it’s site for a day or so. Wikipedia aid the deletion occurred because the community interpreted Modernista as violating of one of Wikipedia’s two critical pillars: maintaining a neutral point of view and no conflict of interest. They felt that Modernista “created a page solely for their business or to talk about themselves, which isn’t what Wikipedia is about.” It was restored when it was made clear that Modernista wasn’t controlling the content of the page.
It is a radical departure from anything we would think of as a Web site. Through my work I hear from tons of agencies who want to tell me about how they believe in social media but this is the first time I have seen one really putting their money where their mouth is. There are two things I want to watch on this site for in the future. First to see how and if the site evolves as new social media sites come to the top of the popular consciousness. Next to see if it runs into a problem since where they have opened their brand, their work, and the potentially their clients up to brand vandalism. They have turned all of it over to more than 75,000 active contributors in more than 250 languages on Wikipedia alone who may not all want to play nice with their brand.
Finally in true digital fashion the site has already been spoofed by britnista.com where visitors are redirected to Google News for reports about everyone’s favorite fallen pop princess and Flickr pics documenting Britney Spears’ fashion faux pas.