Should My Company Have a Wikipedia Page?
If you’ve ever searched for something online, and since you’re online right now I’m guessing you have, then you’ve probably come across a Wikipedia listing. But what is Wikipedia? According to its website, Wikipedia is a, “free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 19.9 million articles (over 3.76 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site, and it has about 90,000 regularly active contributors.”
Many companies can be found listed on Wikipedia but that doesn’t mean that EVERY company can be there. A company must meet Wikipedia’s stringent notability standards before it can be regarded as appropriate for a Wikipedia page. The standards are lengthy and rigorous; by its own definition, “Wikipedia is not a promotional medium. Self-promotion, paid material, autobiography, and product placement are not valid routes to an encyclopedia article.” A company must have achieved a certain and measureable level of notoriety to be considered.
Assuming your company meets Wikipedia’s standards, would you still want to be listed?
The greatest benefit of Wikipedia pages is that they generally show up in the top results of major search engines, providing more exposure and potential credibility for an organization when searched. This can help build trust and legitimacy among individuals searching for information about a certain company. Because they appear almost always near the top of the search results, Wikipedia pages also push down other listings and can help reduce the amount of unwanted results such as negative news articles or reviews, if they exist.
There are also risks to consider in the creation of a Wikipedia page. Wikipedia pages are not controlled by the organization the page describes and the page can be updated by anyone. This allows negative content to be placed on the page, whether or not it is true or accurate. Anyone remember what happened to Sinbad? Even if unverified content is eventually removed from the main page, it will still reside under the View History tab or on other websites that may have referenced the material when it was live.
Per Wikipedia standards, neither a business, nor organizations or consultants working for that business, are eligible to make any corrections to that business’ page due to conflicts of interest. Though corrections cannot be made directly to a company page, companies or their representatives can recommend page updates and corrections to Wikipedia. Persons making recommendations must have an active Wikipedia account and should be active in the talk page for that Wikipedia article. And even then, the changes may not be made.
This ongoing maintenance of a company page requires constant monitoring to detect any incorrect or negative changes, which can be somewhat time-consuming. One solution is to use the watch function provided by Wikipedia. To use this system, monitors can log into their Wikipedia accounts to be alerted to any changes made. Change alerts can also be subscribed to via email updates or an RSS feed.
Perhaps the greatest negative to having a Wikipedia page lies somewhere in the future. When a company executive is charged with a DUI, or your kitchen is found to be in violation of health codes, or a disgruntled ex-employee decides to post a compromising photo from a company holiday party – be assured it will end up on Wikipedia … right there at the top of any Google search.
Based on the information above, we consider the CONs to outweigh the PROs for most businesses. If you disagree and are interested in getting your company listed, you can request a page utilizing Wikipedia’s request feature located here: Wikipedia:Requested articles. This will alert one of the “90,000 regularly active contributors” to create your listing. Or you can just wait. If your company is appropriate enough for Wikipedia, chances are somebody eventually create your page.
What are your thoughts on Wikipedia pages?