Wikis for marketing

May 21, 2006   //   by Stephan Spencer   //   Wikis  //  3 Comments

Imagine launching a website that your readers can actually edit. That in a nutshell is a “wiki.” Sound scary?

Sometimes it goes horribly wrong. For instance, the LA Times launched a wiki for their editorials, then promptly removed it after it started getting defaced.

But then there are some amazing successes. The most oft-quoted wiki is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia created entirely by its visitors and boasting over a half million entries. Here are some interesting stats on Wikipedia’s growth: here and here.

But Wikipedia isn’t really an example of a wiki used for marketing purposes. Here are a few examples that market or promote a product/service/company/destination:

  • Channel 9 Wiki — Part of the MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network). Microsoft uses this to engage with techies worldwide and keep the dialogue going. I’ve even contributed to it myself then blogged about it.
  • SEOGlossary.com — My company, Netconcepts, recently launched this wiki to provide a resource that is fluid and changeable as the SEO industry evolves. It’s part of our consultative selling strategy.
  • NYWiki — everything you’d want to know about people, places, and things in New York City. A privately-owned website. They make money off of Google AdSense advertising.
  • NewPRWiki — a wiki on new forms of PR, started by communications consultant Constantin Basturea
  • Memory Alpha — a wiki for die-hard Star Trek fans. They make money off of Google AdSense advertising.

Only the first two examples are really marketing initiatives.

Anyone have any more/better examples of wikis used in marketing?

3 Comments

  • You might interested a recent article questioning the value of wikis. A short summary I wrote on my blog (http://ecultureweek.internetreputation.com):

    An expert who once praised the value of wikis, collaborative websites that allow anyone to write and edit, is now questioning their value.

    Dr. Gary E. Gorman, editor of the peer reviewed journal Online Information Review, argues in a recent editorial that wikis are plagued with three major flaws:

    *They can serve as “vehicles for one-upmanship among competing academics�

    *They can serve as “the focal point for a variety of “head cases� both within and outside academe�

    *They can serve as “a place for the most unformed and juvenile views to be aired�.

    Because of their ease of use, wikis have been trumpeted as the future of internet communities. Gorman, however, is skeptical. He notes that rather than being an “information democracy�, wikis are chaotic in nature and the input from fellow wiki users is often not constructive.

    He points out that the even established wiki publications are sometimes filled with inaccuracies and can confuse issues. He cites examples where, “users have even deliberately inserted errors into Wikipedia entries to test how quickly users can detect and remove them.� The result has been than in less popular entries, errors have remained uncorrected for long periods.

    The article can be found in the journal Online Information Review, Volume 29, Number 3 2005 pp. 225-226.

  • Eastwick Communications, a PR firm, is doing a great review of wikis called “33 Wikis”.
    http://eastwikkers.typepad.com/eastwikkers_/

    They’re doing a wide range of wikis that might be of interest to you and your readers. Check it out. I think Giovanni’s writing is like butter.

  • [...] In the past I’ve made the case for using wikis for online marketing. [...]

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