Friday, December 11, 2009

Successful Innovative Companies: Volume 10

The Successful Innovative Company of the Week is: Wikipedia.
What they do right: they give away free information. I first heard about Wikipedia in high school and at the time we were not allowed to source it. In serious publications people still don't but everyone takes a journey there to verify information. It is a starting step for a journey of a thousand miles. It is a pool of knowledge to swim in or dump your glass.

The strength of Wikipedia is in the millions of people that update it. I was reading a message board the day after Dathan Ritzenhein set the 5000 meter US record and one of the first comments was something like 'you know Wikipedia is great when it already has his record less than an hour after he set it'.

Wikipedia is also vastly underutilized by the advertising industry. I mean if you are doing something that you want to make your company look good, well go on Wikipedia and change it so that people know you are trying. I mean when it comes to companies first there is your website (propaganda) then there is Wikipedia (the truth). I'm not saying delete the negative information on Wikipedia I'm saying add more of the positive stuff. Add the history, the people stories, sales information, product information, details, add wikipedia pages for your products. It's free. People believe it. It's like a snowball effect, start a page for your new product and as people update it it will grow and become it's own thing. I mean it's just so obvious to me how any company, brand, famous person, whatever can help their image by using Wikipedia. It's like a minibiography that you have the chance to edit. Do you want to see how history will remember your company (or you), well, write history! For all the money spent on bandwidth, website templates, computer templates, just about anyone could add a paragraph to Wikipedia.

What they could improve: If people had to have an account to update Wikipedia that would make them more accountable. I mean you could still set up an account to falsely update one thing and then not worry when it was deleted, but it would slow down a lot of trolls.

I see accountability as the largest challenge to Wikipedia. For incorrect information there is no punishment to the person that posts it. I am not sure exactly how to get around this, maybe some sort of approval before something goes live by the page author.

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