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Should You or Your Business Be on Wikipedia? The Pros and Cons.

15May

Should You or Your Business Be on Wikipedia? The Pros and Cons.

Everyone uses Wikipedia – in fact, if I see a Wikipedia entry come up on a Google search, that’s usually the first link I click on.

Can Wikipedia be used for marketing purposes? The answer is certainly – though probably not in the way you think.

A Wikipedia entry on you or your business isn’t going to directly sell widgets or get you your next commissioned painting. However, what it will do is add credibility to your name or brand by putting it up on the web for everyone to see. But, like most things in life, there are a few drawbacks to using Wikipedia.

Pros:

Pro #1: It’s fact-based. Every entry in Wikipedia reads like a page out of the Encyclopedia Britannica. There aren’t any opinions, hype, or marketing ploys allowed on Wikipedia – although the users who post information may be motivated by an opinion they have. Because it’s fact-based, you’ve got an opportunity here to tell people exactly what you do and how you do it, to provide little-known company information and other things that might get lost in your marketing messages or buried in your company website.

Pro #2: It adds legitimacy to your name or brand. Because Wikipedia is a third-party, public website, information on your Wikipedia page may be more valuable to a potential customer than some of the information on your website. You’re accessing potentially millions and millions of users on their terms – no jingles, no T.V. commercials, no propaganda.

Pro #3: You can direct it … in a way. Rather than letting users start your Wikipedia page that may be riddled with errors or even meant to be a low-blow to your good name (see Con #2), why not start the page yourself – that way, you can direct the type of information that’s listed on your page. That’s one way to manage your reputation and point out information that may be little-known. Reference a news article. Link to your website. As long as you stay within the Wikipedia guidelines, you can shape the look and tone of your Wiki entry.

Cons:

Con #1. Wikipedia isn’t reliable. Yes, it may seem reliable – and it’s certainly popular, often treated as The Bible for any obscure fact that no one could possibly know. I’m sure it’s settled many bets, and probably ended a few friendships. The information is based on user entries, and can be changed or modified by anyone who wants to. Not everything you see on Wikipedia is a proven fact, though it should be. Which leads me to my next point…

Con #2: Anyone can change your Wikipedia entry. That’s right, anyone: a miffed customer, disgruntled ex-employee, the brother-in-law that hates you, even one of your competitors. Anything on your Wikipedia page can have its validity challenged or be modified by anyone. This is good because it keeps some companies from hiding any past missteps – remember, Wikipedia is about public information, not PR. But beware that your Wikipedia page is vulnerable to anyone who disagrees with the information it contains.

Con #3: It needs constant patrol. Since you can’t control all of the information on your site, it’s important that your Wikipedia page doesn’t completely destroy your reputation. Be sure to check your entry regularly to see if it’s been changed – and how it’s been changed. Certainly allow users to contribute whatever they’ve got to your entry – this isn’t a time to let your controlling tendencies get to you. But in order to make sure that your good name isn’t being dragged through the mud by a customer, ex-employee, brother-in-law, etc., you’re going to have to monitor it and respond accordingly.

Remember, nothing on Wikipedia is set in stone. It’s constantly evolving and growing, with new additions and deletions from a collaboration of users. And that fluidity can end up helping or tarnishing your brand if left unchecked.

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Posted by Michelle  Posted on 15 May 
  • Bible, Business, Copywriting, Encyclopædia Britannica, Google, Google search, marketing, Website, Wikipedia, wikipedia entries
  • Post Comments 15

     Alexandra
    • Jun 16 2009
    Reply  
    Superb Blog here.. I been using Akisment for my wordpress blog and wondering if it does a good work of protecting spam as many pass through? A reply would be helpful mate.
     Wintress
    • Jun 17 2009
    Reply  
    Hi Alexandra, We happen to use Akismet as well, and it works wonders. Highly recommended.
     Kathy
    • Jun 18 2009
    Reply  
    Another great blog entry.
     cisne
    • Aug 10 2009
    Reply  
    any suggestions on editors to hire? I tried posting my own un-biased entry but was blocked. I'd like to hire someone who is experienced with the wikipedia format, policies, and sourcing to work with me to create a wikipedia acceptable post.
     Wintress
    • Aug 10 2009
    Reply  
    Hi Cisne, We can certainly help you with that. We've written several Wiki articles that are currently posted. Please email your contact information to wintress@thewritersforhire.com, and I'll be happy to give you a call to discuss the details. Wintress
     Dan Kems
    • Aug 12 2009
    Reply  
    Wintress, You and your staff really do a very good job. I look forward to many years of great copy. Danny
       Wintress
      • Aug 12 2009
      Reply  
      Thanks Dan! We look forward to working with you for many years as well!
     Jay
    • Jul 20 2010
    Reply  
    Seeking skilled wikipedia writers for articles on individual surgeons. You must have experience with Wikipedia style and be able to show examples.
     Wintress Odom
    • Jul 20 2010
    Reply  
    Hi Jay, We'd be happy to help you with that. I'll email you directly with some links to our Wiki samples. Wintress Odom 713-465-6860 wintress@thewritersforhire.com
     mitch
    • Oct 20 2010
    Reply  
    Looking for a write that can write a factual article and submit it to wikepedia.
     Dave
    • Jul 5 2011
    Reply  
    l Looking for a skilled Wiki writer to help us publish information about our entities.
     Wintress
    • Jul 8 2011
    Reply  
    @Dave I realize you also called our office; let me know if you need any more info that Kathy didn't provide to you.
     John Davidson
    • Feb 20 2012
    Reply  
    We are considering the validity of using Wikipedia as a conduit to tell a rather fascinating story about a soap that was on Tomorrows World BBC1, featured in The Daily Mail and has been providing eczema relief for over 15 years!. It was discovered by Miners!!, the reason it was first on television is because it floated! It was later discovered by two Doctors to be a superb eczema and psoriasis treatment. We would appreciate some advice on the matter.We are pretty much Philistines at this sort of thing . kind regards John
     Wintress
    • Feb 20 2012
    Reply  
    Hi John, I just sent you an email. Talk to you tomorrow!
     smanuals
    • Apr 12 2012
    Reply  
    Wikipedia is one of the best and most read website and this will tremendously help your business. I must recommend it.

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