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?


Web 2.0, Wikipedia and Semantic Web

27 02 2007

NarainNext on was Narain, CEO of 360 Degree Interactive on semantic web. He talked about microformats, virtual identities etc. He  talked about technologies that would change the world tomorrow, but not much noticed today. After his talk I realised how microformats and virtual identity is going to shape up tomorrows technologies. Virtual identities for example gives every person on interenet a unique identity. He said “during school days if there were two people of the same name, they would be reffered to by place or nickname. But they would never change thier name to something else. Then why do we compromise our name on the interent. We do we have to maintain 15 usernames and 30 passwords”? Very interesting indeed. Something that I had never thought about.

Microformats as you might have guessed is a kind of language to be used for portable devices which are cross platform compactible. I strongly believe the talk should be repeated for a technical audience again, for example BarCamp 2.0 or somthing like that.

Narain if you rememeber is the same person who showcased TracBac during BarCamp Chennai. Now TracBac is in its version 2. TracBac is a visual collaboration platform for designers and clients to interact over the Internet. With TracBac you can Share. Comment. Review. Approve. Manage. Analyze and Deliver things to clients. Click here to learn more about TracBac. To view TracBac in action, click here.


The filmmakers at Wikicamp

26 02 2007

Wondering who are these guys appearing on the photograhs? Well thats Nic, Adam and John. They are the film makers making a documentry on Jimmy Wales. These guys have been working on this for a real long time (about an year actually)and would be with Jimmy to Delhi, Varanasi, Japan, UK, New York and then back to San Francisco. They say the editing alone would take 6 months. They have already done a fantastic documentry. Check it out at Watch the trailer here:

Their company is called Underdog Productions and currenlty there are 6 people in the team of which 3 are making the documentry about Jimmy Wales. They plan to show the world the kind of person Jimmy is and the hectic life he lives. They plan to file the documentry under creative comments licence and also to send it in for film festivals. Apart from documentry they do music videos, graphic designs etc. They are putting in a lot of effort and sure hope that they would come out with flying colours. Thats a pic of myself and the director of the team, Nic.

Prathul & Nic

When asked about what they feel about India, they sais- “I was amazed to see that people here are very friendly. We have never saw such friendly people in any other countries we have visited so far. You know they just come smiling,  shake hand and enquire about us. Also I have heard that India has the biggest and best blogging community”. They were very friendly with eveyone at Wikicamp and I am sure they have made a lot of friends. Thats the team below: Adam(Sound Engineer), John(Cameraman) and Nic(The Director).

 Adam, John and Nic

We were not aware that they would be coming with Jimbo. If we had any clue that they were coming, TKF would have made arrangements for their stay and other expenses. Sorry guys. Next time we would definitely make sure that you wouldnt have to stay at any hotel. Later night at dinner party we stuck up an interesting conversation about bollywood movies. They said that most of the tv channels they saw had a girl and boy dancing in almost every song. Welcome to India!!! Anyway we all had a great time together and they have left to Delhi by today morning 5am flight.

Wikipedia- The Indian Story So Far

25 02 2007

Wiki IndiaBadani, Ganesh, Sundar and Arun Ramratnam are the men behind Wiki India. You can check out Iindian wikipedia administrers page for more details on these people. Currently there are 21 administerators from India out of total 1000.

Mr Badani says beurocrat in Wikipedia is a person who has the right to promote users to administrators.  

Photos From Right to Left:

Ganesh- Automatic article creation with bots
Sundar- Tamil wikipedian
Badani-India’s most qualific wikipedian. He is among top 45 contributers.

Attack of the squeeze balls!!!

25 02 2007

Meanwhile Kiruba and Vijay is ready with the sqeeze balls. Nope, its not to relief stress… its to throw at the spearkes if Squeeze Ballsthey take more time or if its boaring. I can expect a good shower of those for my session. 😀

Second Life- Online Multiplayer Game

25 02 2007

Balaji Soumyanarain is talking about Second Life which is a very popular online game. Its an exact replica of real life with Lindan currency in this world.

School For India

25 02 2007

Venkatesh is talking about an online portal where village information is available. The framework would be named Venkatesh @ The basic idea is to outsource work from these villages in order to provide direct revenue. From this revenue they plan to build 6000 schools which is really a good thing.

Another plan is to create 6000 radio stations across India like peopls FM. Taking into consideration that Govt Of India has given a green flag to setting up FM stations.

Thay have also registered the domain and that would be online soon.