Does your Organization Need a Wikipedia Entry?

While many may not be familiar with the term ‘crowdsourcing‘, most Internet users are familiar with Wikipedia, the online collaborative encyclopedia. Indeed, it has even gained some legitimacy as some courts have allowed the inclusion of information found in Wikipedia to be used in cases. When evaluating your online presence, should your organization have a listing on Wikipedia?

Who should control the message?

Wikipedia is an open platform: anyone can add to or edit an entry. While the community policies itself fairly well against abuse, it does not limit who can contribute to the entry. Are you comfortable with the primary source of information about your organization being composed by others?

Who do you want cited?

If you have a website and a Wikipedia entry, which do you think people will cite elsewhere? Do you really want Wikipedia to get the backlink?

Those links from Wikipedia to your site don’t ‘count’ anyway

External links from a Wikipedia page are “nofollow” links – that is, search engines either don’t follow the link to index it, or don’t ‘count’ the link in assessing the site’s PageRank.

Uh… backlink? PageRank?

Part of what influences your Google PageRank is the number of links back to your site, relative to the importance of the sites doing the linking. So if links to your site as a credible resource, that link is weighted more heavily than your aunt’s Website about cats. So if part of your site ranking in search engines is related to how many links there are to your site, you want people to link to your site, rather than to Wikipedia. This is doubly important since you don’t even benefit PageRank-wise from a link to your site from Wikipedia.

I still want to be on Wikipedia!

Ok, ok. You can create a page on Wikipedia describing your organization…provided you’re considered Notable.

Part of what makes Wikipedia the resource it is are the standards that have been established. For a topic to be considered worthy of its own article, it must be considered “worthy of note”. In the case of organizations and companies:

An organization is generally considered notable if it has been the subject of significant coverage in reliable, independent secondary sources. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability. All content must be verifiable.
(from Wikipedia, obviously!)

The article on Notability for Organizations clearly calls out the need for verifiable, non-editorialized content. In my experience, it is important to find several external references and cite as much as possible in your entry. Press releases issued by the organization itself are not considered a credible resource.

There is an entire policy page on “what Wikipedia is not“, in which it clearly states:

  • Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought
  • Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links, images, or media files
  • Wikipedia is not a directory
  • Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information

Wikipedia has become recognized as the resource it is in part due to these restrictions. If your content has received interest elsewhere online, it may be considered as appropriate for inclusion. But just because anyone may add an entry to Wikipedia does not mean each topic is appropriate for inclusion. Before jumping to add your content to this venue, it is important to ensure others also find your content notable. Having external references to cite in your entry may well make the difference between exposure and deletion.

5 thoughts on “Does your Organization Need a Wikipedia Entry?

  • Andrea, it’s worth noting these words of warning on Wikipedia’s guide to creating new entries:
    “Do not create pages about yourself, your company, your band or your friends, pages that advertise, personal essays or other articles you would not find in an encyclopedia.”
    That said, I have a feeling it’s a rule that’s made to be broken. At the very least, it encourages businesses to keep their entries succinct and impartial — or risk speedy deletion.

  • Thanks David – your point is well taken. While I listed the “what Wikipedia is not”, it helps to explicitly state that self-promotion is unacceptable. (it also states that Wikipedia is not your blog space!)

    Follow me on twitter: afhill262

  • Agreeing with David, it defeats the purpose of encyclopedias (Wikipedia included) if people add their own content. That’s like someone creating a new element and adding it to the Periodic Table without countless peer review studies to cite as proof.

    Ari Herzog’s last blog post..Running for Mayor is no Joking Matter

    Follow me on twitter: ariherzog

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