Everybody’s favorite social jobwork, LinkedIn, posted a job vacancy today entitled Sales of Wikipedia Visibility for a company called WikiExperts, which, as far as I can tell, is completely unaffiliated with Wikipedia itself. The company offers to monitor and maintain a positive and correct Wikipedia entry image for your brand, celebrity, or company. It reminds of when businesses started to get on Facebook and Twitter and needed to hire social media managers. Same deal. Now, hold the phone, you say, didn’t you guys get booted from Wikipedia for alleged self-promotion? Why yes, my friends, we did.
We were naive. We posted ourselves on Wikipedia under a user name that was obviously the user name of our “brand” [rolls eyes], What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia?
So back to the description of the company. WikiExperts is aware of the Wikipedia guidelines:
“Maintaining your Wikipedia presence is a daunting task for any business. Wikipedia has a complex set of rules and guidelines on how articles should be written. Those rules exist to protect the quality and objectivity of the information posted on their website and articles that do not comply with these rules are deleted. Writing articles that comply with the stringent rules of Wikipedia has become the work of experts.”
We couldn’t agree more that The People’s-a-pedia is in the hands of a very small demographic group. And after our first experience attempting to edit Wikipedia, we also better understand the rules of Wikipedia, the rules that supposedly protect the integrity of the site.
Good, great, except that isn’t WikiExperts a promotion loophole? So maybe you didn’t create the entry yourself, but you get an intermediary to maintain your page and make sure that “disgruntled former employees” aren’t posting “lies” about your company. It’s promotional maintenance. Isn’t this definitely self-promotion, since you, the owner of the brand, are paying someone to do this?
We don’t fall down hard on Wikipedia or WikiExperts. The problem is not Wikipedia’s integrity rule – but that it’s extremely difficult to enforce that rule for all violators. There are a lot of loopholes. Loopholes which we will continue to take comedic advantage of.