With more than 5,137,099 articles and almost 9 billion page views per month, Wikipedia is one of the biggest and most frequently visited websites in the world. It ranks on the first page of Google search for almost 99% of keywords.
It’s a crowdsourced online encyclopedia where anyone from anywhere in the world can add new information or edit existing articles. When building a Wikipedia page, every piece of information needs to be backed by an authentic and reliable source.
However, since Wikipedia is open for anyone to post and add information, it can easily be used to defame individuals or brands by posting inaccurate information.
To counter this potential danger, corporate organizations in particular need to have a Wikipedia reputation management and monitoring strategy in place.
Since Wikipedia usually ranks on the first page of Google search, a negative Wikipedia article about a brand immediately puts it at a severe reputation risk.
Because of the posting guidelines of Wikipedia, it’s difficult to get pages or articles deleted. So the only natural way to counter negative articles is by editing them and offering a counter narrative that is backed by reliable information sources.
The first step of Wikipedia reputation management is to develop an effective monitoring mechanism to identify any negative or unwanted content. Every day, thousands of new articles are added to Wikipedia, and countless edits are made to existing Wikipedia content.
Without automating this process under the supervision of a dedicated team, it’s almost impossible to detect negative or unwanted content.
This is why seeking help from professional Wikipedia reputation management firms is often the safest route available.
Wikipedia articles can only be edited by registered Wikipedia users. But according to Wikipedia policies, user accounts can only belong to individuals. No shared group accounts or corporate accounts are allowed.
Because of the huge volume of data added to Wikipedia every day, limiting the accounts to individual users allows Wikipedia to ensure impartiality.
Companies can, however, edit their own Wikipedia pages through an individual representative who’s either employed at the company or hired as a contractor.
To maintain impartiality, Wikipedia has a strict conflict of interest (COI) policy. Under this policy, Wikipedia requires all users to clearly declare if they have any affiliation with the company or brand they’re writing about.
Failing to do so can lead to permanent account suspension and removal of content from Wikipedia.
However, representatives of a company can propose edits to a piece of content on Wikipedia if they clearly declare their relationship with the brand and conflict of interest.
Wikipedia has a detailed process for accepting or rejecting the changes proposed by users with a conflict of interest.
Wikipedia does accept changes proposed by brand representatives in certain conditions.
In such cases company representatives are required to make their case in the “Talk” section of Wikipedia. This section allows users to interact with Wikipedia users and propose their version of the content.
In fact, Talk pages are home to frequent flame wars and heated discussions on different topics. So it’s important to have authentic references and resources to support any proposed changes.
According to Wikipedia rules, authors and contributors who are paid by an organization to contribute to its Wikipedia entry must disclose their affiliation with the company.
Paid authors are hired not only for updating Wikipedia entries, but also for creating new content on other reliable websites that can be cited as a resource on Wikipedia.
This step is crucial for successful Wikipedia reputation management since the approval of an entry heavily depends on the credibility of the resources cited in it.
Since Wikipedia is a crowdsourced online encyclopedia, the information found on it is not always accurate. Several conflicting studies show a Wikipedia accuracy rate in the 80% to 99% range.
However, when it comes to professionals, celebrities or brands, the chances of inaccurate information are slightly higher, since organizations and individuals can use Wikipedia for defaming their competitors.
In short, Wikipedia is one of the most prominent and frequently visited websites in the world, and its content can have a significant impact on a company’s online reputation.
Therefore, it’s important to have a comprehensive Wikipedia reputation management strategy that covers all the aspects discussed in this article.