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Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’

One Man Wants to Show You How to ‘Get It Right’ with Wikipedia

wikipedia1Have you ever had a client ask you to “look into” or “take care of” their Wikipedia page? Most likely the answer is “yes.”

For PR professionals and the clients they serve, Wikipedia matters. It is the planet’s fifth-most visited domain, and 53% of American adults consult it on a regular basis.

Take a look at your client or brand’s page on Wikipedia now — is it up to date? Is all the information correct? Are all associated images optimized?

Wikipedia’s volunteer community has created an incredible resource, but it does contain some major blind spots.

So what’s a PRNewser to do? Editing a Wikipedia page can be difficult on one’s own—the rules for writing and editing are constantly changing, and they’re governed by a community that is resistant to outside assistance.

They have their reasons: we’re all aware of the fact that certain firms specialize in Wikipedia “sockpuppeting”, and while a coalition of the industry’s top names did come to an “agreement” with the site’s community this year, problems remain.

(For a refresher, we spoke to seven experts on the ramifications of the agreement earlier this Summer.)

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7 Experts Weigh in on the PR/Wikipedia Agreement

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This week brought news of what could be an historic agreement between top PR firms and the editorial community behind one of the world’s most-used, most contentious sources of information: Wikipedia.

The announcement, which primarily concerned ethical issues regarding firms’ relationships with the editors responsible for their clients’ pages, could have very real implications on the entire industry. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales himself wrote, “A great opportunity is upon us.

We spoke to several experts, three of whom were directly involved in the project, to get their perspectives.

First a bit of history via Phil Gomes, SVP of Edelman Digital, who got the ball rolling.

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10 Top Firms Promise Not to ‘Sockpuppet’ Clients’ Wikipedia Pages

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One of the PR industry’s longstanding ethical debates appears closer to a resolution: the matter of Wikipedia “sockpuppets“. Today, several of the industry’s top players released a statement promising not to bend the rules of the public database to their own clients’ benefit.

Last year, Wikipedia took a public stand against the practice of hiring administrators to revamp clients’ profiles; it even went so far as to call out Wiki-PR, a firm specializing in the practice, by name. The firms involved in today’s announcement, however, want the organization to know that PR and public content databases can be friends.

The list and the statement after the jump.

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Meet Wikipedia’s New Boss Lila Treitkov

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Oddly enough, this came from her Wikipedia page

It’s no secret Wikipedia has incurred its fair share of perception issues.

Just take a gander on the Web and you will find a plethora of articles about distrusting its information because of rogue “editors,” pages that are made by trolls just to besmirch any range of people, or how about its TrustRank is fading like a chin lift on Bruce Jenner.

Yet, it remains one of the most influential and highly searched websites on the planet, so things can’t be so bad, right? Whelp, things are about to get much better if you ask Wikimedia (the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia) bigwigs as Lila Treitkov just became its executive director.

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Texas Politicians Caught With a Revoked ‘Editorial License’ on Wikipedia

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For you tree huggers out there: See what Wikipedia saved?

Ah, yes. I love my fabled Lone Star State: the wide prairies; the sprawling plains; the Texas-sized “everything’s bigger here” claims. But let’s not forget this state’s legendary political kerfuffles…

For instance, Texas is the only state to be entered into the United States by treaty and not by territorial annexation because we are kind of a big deal. So much so, that Texas was indeed its own independent nation from 1836 to 1845, and still boasts a clause in the state constitution that says we can be that way again whenever our cracked leaders say so.

Another thing drawing comparatives to “Texas-sized” are the lies hailing from here. Specifically, the ones on Wikipedia from those aforementioned cracked leadersRead more

Wikipedia Tells Top ‘Sockpuppet’ Firm to Cut It Out Already

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…and PR is one.

Last month we posted a TL;DR piece on Wikipedia‘s fight to save its reputation from “sockpuppets”, or PR people breaking the rules by editing and monitoring clients’ pages for money.

The general consensus: certain firms tripped over ethical obstacles and fell flat on their faces—but If Wikipedia really wants to improve its relationship with PR then it might want to work to clear up the editorial “red line” that makes it so hard to correct the kind of errors and opinionated entries that can hurt brands’ reputations.

Now it looks like the Wiki people rejected that approach: they’ve singled out prime offender Wiki-PR for sanctions and issued a cease-and-desist order.

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Can Wikipedia Defeat the ‘Sockpuppets?’

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It’s not just Fox News, guys. Not by a long shot.

Wikipedia is in the midst of a crackdown on ethically dubious practices by “sockpuppets” paid to write and/or edit slanted entries. As of last night, the site’s administrators have shut down more than 250 “suspicious” accounts following a Wikimedia Foundation press release lamenting the fact that they “may have been paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products” and violating numerous site policies that prohibit conflicts of interest.

We get it: repeated studies have shown that inaccuracies in Wikipedia profiles can significantly damage corporate and personal reputations, and the same studies indicate that the process of correcting such errors is too inefficient for such an important source of public information.

At the same time, we see this development as bad news for both Wikipedia and the PR industry at large: it could not play more perfectly into the perception that we’re all paid liars.

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Study: Wikipedia Errors Damage Brands’ Reputations

Issues. We got 'em.

Most of us rightly see Wikipedia as a flawed but unavoidable source of information; the fact that some of the site’s entries are less than 100% accurate doesn’t make it any less influential.

A recent study conducted by the PRSA, however, determined that errors on companies’ Wikipedia pages can significantly damage their reputations. Some key findings:

  • 59% of those familiar with the pages of their own companies or their companies’ clients indicate that errors exist
  • 28% of respondents believe that these errors could be “reputation-damaging”, while 38% who answered yes to that question believe that such mistakes have already taken their toll on the reputation of the company/client

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The ABCs of Using Simpler Language

Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was no doubt pleased with the New York Times’ two-star review of his latest New York restaurant, abc cocina, on July 31. But whoever wrote the description on the restaurant’s website may have cringed, since food critic Pete Wells questioned key passages. The review serves as a reminder why concise wording usually makes better business sense.

 

Here’s the abc cocina website content that Wells parsed:

abc cocina & michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten welcome you to our modern global exchange celebrating local craft and international culture, a fusion of tradition and innovation uniting yesterday and tomorrow. Experience the vision of abc home curation, a romantic and mystical atmosphere and succumb to a dynamic love affair with an eclectic and enchanting cuisine.

Here are excerpts from Wells’ reaction to that description:

“If that gives you a vivid picture of what’s in store for you at this three-month-old establishment, stop reading and use the free time that now stretches out before you to do something nice for a stranger. If, on the other hand, you found a few passages somewhat hazy, I’ll be happy to do my job.”

“This “modern global exchange” is what we critics like to call a “restaurant.” “International culture” must refer to the menu. I could see how it might be romantic and mystical if you are sexually attracted to gelatinous sea creatures. As for “dynamic love affair,” you are going to have to ask Google. I have absolutely no idea.”

Writing in a “can you top this?” style isn’t unique to the restaurant industry. Overuse of buzzwords also appears to be the rise, and we see frequent evidence across categories, from media to design to travel. Yet clear, simple language is preferred for these five reasons:

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Wikipedia Debates Letting PR Pros Edit Clients’ Pages

BP (that’s “Beyond Petroleum” to you, sir) is in trouble again this week for doing the very sort of thing we’d expect it to do: using its spokesperson to rewrite nearly half of its own Wikipedia page.

The purpose of the edits was to play down the corporation’s horrible environmental record. And the accusation came only a few weeks before yet another hearing in which BP’s lawyer will try to argue that his client shouldn’t have to pay millions in “fictitious or inflated claims” related to the pending class action oil spill lawsuit.

So: move along, nothing to see here…

Of course it’s not all in-house: today PR Week reminds us that firms have been criticized for doing this sort of thing for their clients before.

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