Wikipedia as a marketing tool

27 02 2007

This was the session I had planned to take, but since there were many speakers from participants, being an organiser I decided to step back and give others a chance.


Social networking websites, Blogs, Wikipedia is all about community environment. Think of it as a virtual society. If you really need to survive in this virtual society you need to connect and share ideas without alienating members of the community or being perceived negatively as a marketer. You can’t just go around the web pinging each and every person about a new product you would like to market. According to me Online is a very sensitive place for marketing. You need to be really transparent and honest about whatever you are marketing. For example a person who have 1000 hits a day writes something bad about a product, 99% chances are that his readers would never want to try it. Done in the right way, communities are the best place to get feedback and exchange ideas from customers. There are some of the points that I collected from Rohit Bharava’s blog.·         Give up control, people will take your original content and change it completely.

  • It is ok to put in “corporate” content, as long as it is relevant to the community.
  • Let it live and breath, only step in to correct inaccurate information
  • Make sure your own content is not getting pushed out of search results by this new content

Wikipedia is a trusted source as per google search. So whatever term you search for, one of the results would be a Wikipedia page. So if you have created a custom page for your product, people would most likely end up at the page in Wikipedia. Blog and tech writers are always hunting for new products on the web. So if such a person visits the page and he is impressed by the product, he would definitely put it up in his blog and from that point of time your product is reaching people. I would like to to give you an example. During BarCamp I had the opportunity to meet Mr.Narain CEO of 360 Degree Interactive, where he showcased his product TracBac. So once he told me that the product is launching on a specified day. I asked him what is he planning to do for the launch and he replied: “I would put up an entry in my blog!” And as far as I know, TracBac is doing very well today and he has even launched the second version of TracBac. But yes this media can also be misused. Borat the movie was released this weekend and topped the weekend box office with record-setting ticket sales of $26.4 million in the U.S. and Canada at only 837 theaters. A quick Google search for Borat first brings up the Unofficial Borat Homepage and then a Borat listing in Wikipedia. Another example is BBC using Wikipedia to market their online game, Jamie Kane. They created an entire bibliography of the so called Jamey Kane who is a pop star in the game.

Now the million dollar question: Thousands of volunteers, ordinary people, idealists, are creating the “sum of human knowledge” to make world a better place for everyone. Is it right to utilize these to abuse their work for personal gain?

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2 responses

27 02 2007
Siddharta

But if you put your own product page on Wikipedia and it is not a well known product, won’t the community nominate to delete the page saying that its not notable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability)?

20 09 2007
Serafino Raimondo

our way to beautiful gir. Serafino Raimondo.

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