The Independent said director David Wilson had referred to a team that could ‘sort’ Wikipedia for clients. A presentation shown to undercover reporters also said the team could ‘create and maintain third-party blogs’ that would rank highly on Google.
We Are Social MD Robin Grant blasted the practices. ‘I’m shocked that any mainstream PR agency would be offering such services,’ he said.
Nelson Bostock MD Lee Nugent said: ‘This is so unethical – I’m shocked. I thought this died out years ago.’
Many of the PR bosses suggested that, taken to the extreme, such tactics could even be illegal.
Diffusion MD Daljit Bhurji said the tactics harked back to ‘five years ago, not now’. But he lamented: ‘Until there is an international policy stopping this, some will always exploit the rules when working for international clients.’
Earlier this year, PRWeek revealed that a string of senior business figures have had their Wikipedia entries polished by an anonymous London-based ‘reputation cleanser’, believed to be a senior figure in the PR industry.