Brands suffer on Wikipedia, study reveals

Eighty-five per cent of brands on Wikipedia have been found to be poorly represented, leading to calls for brand managers to better understand the site's content needs.

EthicalWiki study: Playtex's Wikipedia brand page scored low
EthicalWiki study: Playtex's Wikipedia brand page scored low

According to a study by EthicalWiki, a US consultancy specialising in Wikipedia engagement, companies have 'missed an opportunity for long-term value through ethical Wikipedia engagement'.

Fox Entertainment Group, LG Corporation, Playtex and Pepsi Bottling Group were among brand pages identified by the Wikipedia community as incomplete or low in quality.

The report, Brands on Wikipedia by the Numbers, has been produced by EthicalWiki owner and consultant David King, based on an analysis of 2,578 brand pages and the opinions of Wikipedia's volunteer community.

Although the report has established that the vast majority of brand pages on Wikipedia are poorly edited, King warned firms that if they improved their own pages, or asked agencies to edit entries, they would 'engage in a controversial practice in ethical grey areas that are ripe to put the firm through media humiliation'.

Instead, he suggested that when looking to supply information for entries, PR professionals should engage with Wikipedia's editors in the same way as dealing with journalists.

King said: 'The level of sophistication on Wikipedia has remained stagnant. Companies should offer content of value to the Wikipedia community in a transparent way, not by directly editing articles they have an affiliation with.'

The research also revealed that 51 per cent of Wikipedia's requests for improvements on brand pages were related to providing credible, third-party sources to draw content from, such as press, books and scholarly works.

It also found that bias, quality and timeliness were among the top concerns of Wikipedia's editorial community.

The report comes after the CIPR called on the industry to help in its fight to improve the ethical use of Wikipedia.

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