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Wikipedia, a place to share

April 25, 2008

Chances are, when you’ve searched for something in Google, a Wikipedia link pops up early in the organic listings. In some cases, right after the website.

This is search result for adidas, which comes above the fold, and is the first entry that isn’t an adidas site.

Adidas – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The company formally registered as adidas AG (with lower case lettering) on August 18, 1949. The phrase All Day I Dream About Sports is used as if Adidas …
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adidas – 58k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this

Put simply, this is what the community thinks of adidas. And whether we like it or not, eventually everything will be on Wikipedia. And why not? This is a place where people, maybe even consumers or fans, could talk about your client’s stuff.

And it’s simple. Add a topic, write it up, and submit it. But it gets better for us. On Wikipedia, when you sign in, you can choose to follow a page. If a client is here, it’s probably a good idea to see how often people are making changes. Because that’s a brand engagement, and there’s value in those, even the negative ones.

Think about it. If a non-competitor comes to a Wikipedia page and adds something negative, that’s a complaint. But since they care enough to complain, then brands should care enough to notice. And fix it. And I don’t mean fix the entry, I mean respond to the complaint.

Wikipedia is a classic answer to the wisdom of crowds. Alone, we’re all pretty crap singers, but at a concert, with thousands of people singing, the crowd sounds great.

Wikipedia can be that for a brand. And as brands enter the social space, it’s not a bad idea to place your Wikipedia entry in a place that describes your company. In the about us section of a website, for instance, link to the Wikipedia entry. That means the brand is not telling consumers about it, it’s letting customers tell other customers about it. That’s a powerfully inclusive message.

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