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Wikipedia: Is it a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ for your business?

A few weeks ago I walked with you through the steps to creating your very first Wikipedia article.  What I did not mention, however, is that for many businesses the question of whether or not they should even bother tackling this task is a first concern. There are more than 25 million pages that have been created on Wikipedia.  If you’ve been there you’ve noticed that a good number of these pages are sometimes focused on businesses.  So you may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I could get my business on Wikipedia and really get some good exposure!”  Sure, it sounds all well and dandy, but let’s get this part out of the way: The vast majority of businesses don’t qualify! That’s right, folks.  Wikipedia is not a directory.  In fact, they state it quite clearly in their Help page.  Yes, anyone can make a Wikipedia article- even that goat next door.  But if your business’ page doesn’t belong, a moderator will eventually come around and delete it.  Making the hours you spent on it completely moot. So how do you qualify?  Well, first off take a peek at the guidelines that Wikipedia has already set.  One of the biggest qualifiers is what your business’ reputation is like.  If you’ve had some high-level media exposure, then your chances are pretty good.  And usually what Wikipedia means by “high-level media exposure” are large media outlets- not your hometown local newspaper.  Chances are, though, if your business is relatively new to the market or hasn’t been in the spotlight very much the chances of it being post-worthy and interesting aren’t terribly high. True, some businesses currently up on Wikipedia may not meet all the guidelines set. Why are they still up? There’s a good chance a moderator hasn’t gotten around yet to deleting them.  Once again, making all their creators’ hard work moot. If I haven’t already crushed your hopes, here are a list of pros and cons to having your business on Wikipedia: Pros: 1.  Exposure.  There’s no if’s and’s or but’s about this.  You will receive a fair amount of limelight through Wikipedia.  In nearly every Google search, Wikipedia comes up within the first 3 links- making it a powerhouse for rankings. 2.  Fact- Based. There are no opinions on Wikipedia.  Though writers may be motivated by opinion, no marketing ploys are allowed by moderators.  And because it’s fact-based it’s a great chance to truly let readers know what your company is about, without all that advertising ‘mumbo-jumbo.’ 3.  Legitimacy.  Because readers of Wikipedia know that the site is not for advertising or marketing means, the information may seem more valuable there than from other locations.  It’s the difference between reading about Coca-Cola in an Encyclopedia and reading about it from a Coca-Cola press release.  There’s no hype, just fact. Cons: 1.  Little Say.  If you manage to get your business’ Wikipedia article past moderators, they still frown upon employees or business owners making updates to the page.  Wikipedia strives for a neutral point of view on every article.  So you have to hope that you can find someone unaffiliated to your company to continue to update the content, or be active on the “Talk” part of your business’ page and suggest potential updates. 2.  Little Control.  Anyone can update a Wikipedia page- anyone.  That disgruntled customer from last week, your neighbor who just loves to upset you, your jokester of a little brother, competitors- anyone.  3.  Time Consuming.  Like I said above, anyone can update your page- which means you’ll have to have someone doing damage control on a consistent basis.  Though Wikipedia can help boost the reputation of a business, one misstep or an addition you don’t want could destroy it too.  In order to quell these problems, you’ll need to monitor it- frequently.   This has been just a quick “Stop” sign before diving head-first into a Wikipedia article for your business.   Do I believe Wikipedia articles to be worth the hassle? The majority of the time, yes.  IF your business meets the protocol set by the website.  If not, work on building up your reputation and then look back into Wikipedia. If you do it correctly, it’s a great tool to have! Want to explore whether or not a Wikipedia page is a good fit for your business? Contact us for a free consultation! Photo Credit 1  Photo Credit 2

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