Why you DON’T want a Wikipedia page

August 6, 2018

Marketing leaders are constantly seeking ways to optimize their marketing program. Because leaders are responsible for demand generation, the pressure to have high visibility and conversion sometimes leads to poor decision making. This is especially true when it comes to deciding to create a presence on Wikipedia.

 

For companies and organizations that are new to the market or industry, having a Wikipedia article lends credibility and legitimacy coupled with strong search results ranking. While this information seems like a justifiable reason to have a Wikipedia article, there are caveats that should be considered.

 

  • Controversy and Criticism Cannot Be Controlled
    Wikipedia is unforgiving when it comes to controversy and criticism. On search engines, an online reputation program can suppress negative content. This not true on Wikipedia. For a sustainable encyclopedic presence, the Wikipedia article should be balanced with both positive and negative content.

  • Direct Editing is Prohibited
    Wikipedia is known as the encyclopedia “anyone can edit” but this is misleading. Individuals  affiliated with the subject are known to have Conflict of Interest (COI). Direct editing of the subject’s Wikipedia article violates Wikipedia’s Terms of Use (ToU). Implications are legal enforcement, IP Address restriction, and public reputational repercussions.

  • Fractured Website Referral Traffic
    Direct website traffic is typically the top priority for conversion. All external links on Wikipedia are programmed as “nofollow,” which means backlinking has no value. Less than 1% of Wikipedia traffic converts to referral to a main website.

 

One may argue there are many questionable articles on Wikipedia. Therefore marketers and Wikipedia consultants (including StellaResults) shall consider criteria for submitting the creation of a new Wikipedia article.

 

  • Notability and Significance
    Wikipedia has strict guidelines for accepting new Wikipedia articles. Notability of a person and company is required.

  • Quality Sources
    Wikipedia requires third-party media clippings of high quality reliable sources to support the encyclopedic content. Deficiency of reliable sources reflects poorly. The article may be flagged for insufficient sources or deleted.

  • There is No Deadline
    Urgency is a good reason to hold off on having a Wikipedia presence. Many Wikipedia articles get published without influence from the company or organization. If a topic, person, or company has significant coverage in mainstream and/or industry news, Wikipedian volunteers are attentive to create articles that meet notability requirements and may stand the test of time on Wikipedia.

 

 

Marketing and demand generation strategy best practices  recently integrated Wikipedia as part of a comprehensive marketing program. However, the benefits awarded to Wikipedia as a platform are not byproducts; they are the result of a consensus-based community adhering to over 250 policies and guidelines. Having a presence on Wikipedia requires ethics, patience, and understanding that the encyclopedic content cannot be controlled. Furthermore, a Wikipedia presence will fracture referral traffic goals. The reasons for having a Wikipedia article should be more than strong link authority, perpetual presence, and legitimacy. Having a Wikipedia page is a responsible practice to ensure the content is encyclopedic, neutral, and supported by high-quality reliable sources. By honoring the policies, guidelines, and 133,000 volunteer editors, Wikipedia has a greater chance of surviving as a quality encyclopedia.

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