Wikipedia has risen to become the #1 online encyclopedia and one of the top 5 Google-trusted websites. Every year, Wikipedia publishes its “Most-Edited Wikipedia Pages”. In 2016, the top two most-edited articles were “Deaths of 2016” and “Donald Trump”. In the spirit of curiosity, we compiled a list of the 2016 Most-Edited Fortune 500 Wikipedia Pages.
Wal-Mart topped the charts of revenue and Wikipedia edits, but we did not see a correlation between Fortune 500 ranking and number of Wikipedia edits. In the table below, we present the top 15 most-edited Wikipedia pages of the Fortune 500. In the case of Netflix, its Wikipedia article had a 200% surge in 2016. However, assessed over time, Netflix’s Wikipedia article has experienced a steady growth since the article was created in 2003.
Top 15 Most-Edited Fortune 500 Wikipedia Pages (2016)
Netflix Wikipedia Edit Activity
Wells Fargo Bank ranked #16, narrowly missing the top 15. Despite the company spending the year mired in controversy, 263 edits on its Wikipedia page represented only a 165% difference from its annual average of 158 edits.
To further differentiate the list, we compiled the Fortune 500 companies’ Wikipedia pages with the highest percentage of change in edit activity. Unusually high edit activity does not necessarily imply the company is experiencing a reputational crisis. Because there are so many possibilities that could have inspired edits, we typically take a closer look at edit patterns. We then research news clippings of the specific company. Though crisis can cause a surge in visitor traffic and edit activity, company structure changes (e.g., mergers and acquisitions) can also inspire the Wikipedia community to update the Wikipedia article.
Alaska Air Group presented us with a mystery. The Wikipedia article had a cumulative total of 115 edits since the article was created in 2005, but in 2016, there were 106 new edits. We attribute the rise of edits to Alaska Airlines’ announced merger with Virgin America. Following the announcement in April 2016, 32 edits were made on the Wikipedia article. In December 2016, following the US Department of Justice approval of the merger, 31 more edits occurred.
Alaska Air Group Wikipedia Edit History
Findings from our research show a correlation between news and rise of Wikipedia visits and edits. For example, with Kinder Morgan, news related to Keystone XL and Trans Mountain Expansion Project drew a lot of attention to its Wikipedia article. Government and media reports of accidents that occurred at Kinder Morgan sites also contributed to the rise in edits.
Kinder Morgan Wikipedia Edit History
When it comes to learning history and facts about a company, Internet users reflexively go to Google then go to Wikipedia. As Wikipedia celebrates its 16th anniversary, Wikipedia rarely needs to contend with the criticism of being unreliable. Its promise to be “the sum of the all human knowledge” emboldens over 100,000 volunteer editors to update Wikipedia pages with facts in spite of having the knowledge that the course (and verifiability) of those events will change. Monitoring media and social media are critical in company’s integrated marketing communications and reputation management program. Media references in Wikipedia articles aid in measuring a company’s media program effectiveness and sentiment. Significant views from varying third-party sources show up on the Wikipedia article and thus shape the story and influencing sentiment about the company. Wikipedia is the natural path of the typical online user who could be media, employee, or shareholder. When a company take a hands-off approach to Wikipedia, the company misses the opportunity to invest more into its media program to “set the record straight” on its Wikipedia article.
About Our Methodology
We evaluated data from the following sources: 2016 Fortune 500 list, WikiHistory, and xtools-articleinfo. To qualify on the list, we imposed a rule that the company Wikipedia page had to have a minimum of 20 annual edits.
We sourced our data from Fortune Magazine, which ranks public and private companies by total revenue by fiscal year. We used data from the 2016 Fortune 500 list.
WikiHistory and xtools-articleinfo
Historical edit activity was sourced from WikiHistory and xtools-articleinfo, which present and visualize the edit activity of Wikipedia articles. On both sites we input the time period to pull up the data (i.e., January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016).
The Complete List
The complete list is here. Download the report here.