I love my job and my clients even more. The best part about my job is that I get to act like an attorney in the online world as opposed to what my law degree allows me to do in the real world. Advising clients on the many guidelines and policies of Wikipedia satisfies me more than any other job I have held in my life. Thanks to the mountains of guidelines that the Wikipedia bureaucracy has imposed over the years, it is near impossible for someone to write an article that passes Wikipedia guidelines unless they have been editing the site for years (like I have). It is actually the bureaucracy of Wikipedia editors that allowed me to create my own Wikipedia writing service.
I have received a plethora of questions throughout my career as a professional Wikipedia editor. Many clients have questions about sources, what can and cannot be added to their article, and how to maintain an article once it is posted. However, one question I come across often is “how come our competitors can put “XYZ” into their article but we can’t?” Another question I get from potential clients is “how come our competitor can have an article even though they aren’t notable?” These are great questions and boils down to fairness. There are many articles in Wikipedia that lead people to believe that they can create a similar article.
Bad articles and the confusion they create:
First, keep in mind that not everyone has hired a Wikipedia writing service to draft their article. In fact, the majority of articles on Wikipedia are written by volunteers who simply want to spend their time making Wikipedia a better source of knowledge. Yes, even though I use the term “Wiki-idiots” for many of the editors, they truly do spend their free time editing Wikipedia so my hats off to them for that. However, the rules that they have implemented over the years has caused some non-notable articles to remain and give people a false impression that it is alright to style an article after them.
Many of the articles that I am pointed to by potential clients are poorly sourced. In fact, they are sourced primarily from a company’s website or blog which is clearly not in line with Wikipedia guidelines for reliable sources. However, the article still remains live in Wikipedia. In addition, many of the articles are non-notable as a Google search of the company finds nothing more than press releases and unreliable sources. As such, the article is not only poorly sourced, but would not meet Wikipedia guidelines and should be deleted from the site. However, the articles still remain.
What to focus on other than your competitor:
What I tell people is to not worry about other articles that are currently in Wikipedia. After all, if you want a great article, do NOT mold your article based on other Wikipedia articles as many of them do not conform to guidelines for referencing, format, or notability. You want an article that will remain in Wikipedia without being tagged or deleted. As such, start from scratch with a professional Wikipedia writing who knows the guidelines and can create an article that contains the information that you want in a format that meets Wikipedia standards. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind if you see that a competitor article contains something that you want but were advised that you cannot do:
- Wikipedia has a guideline referred to as “other stuff exists.” The guideline basically states that although there may be an article or something within an article that currently exists on the site, this does not mean that you are allowed to do the same. While I do not agree with all of the wording within the guidelines, I do agree that looking at the guidelines prior to drafting an article is always better than finding a Wikipedia article and molding yours after it.
- Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a press release. Chances are that your competitor has written their article like an advertisement for their products or services. It probably reads like great landing page content, but is not right for Wikipedia. You want basic information about who you are and what you do, not the sum of all information including what you did on your grand opening. There are some things that are better left out of Wikipedia as readers are expecting an encyclopedia entry, not a promotional article, and will often choose your competitor over you as such.
- Even if what your competitor has in their Wikipedia article is appropriate, why copy them? You want to stand out above them which is why hiring a Wikipedia writing service is often the best answer.
So why do these bad articles still remain?
One thing I have found is that even though an article may not be notable, editors are less likely to recommend it for deletion if it is an older article (e.g., an article posted in 2009 or earlier). I am not sure what the reason for this is, but I have found it true across the board. Maybe an editor is scared to delete it as they feel like no one has in many years so it is likely to stand up to a deletion discussion, or maybe they feel that the article was notable under older criteria but not the current criteria for notability. Either way, click on the “view history” button of an article to find out if it has been posted for a while. If so, that could be the reason why your competitor has an article and you don’t.
What you can do:
While your competitor has unlikely done anything to improve their Wikipedia article in years, you certainly can. Leave your competitor’s article in the dust by creating your own article that meets Wikipedia guidelines. In the end, your article will look better as it is formatted and referenced properly. Your article will also look more professional so that people checking you and your competitor’s articles at the same time will see that you are more notable as your article is up to standards and not just a copy of press articles bunched into one.
Writing an article about your company by yourself can definitely be done. However, you are strongly encouraged to follow Wikipedia guidelines on conflict of interest. While I do not particularly agree with everything in this guideline, there is one thing that I do. The article must be written from a neutral point of view. If you are unable to do so, hire a Wikipedia writing service (not just a paid editor) to help or you can also place a request to have your article created on the Wikipedia request for creation noticeboard.
by Michael Wood – Michael Wood is an online marketing expert and owner of Legalmorning.com. He specializes in reputation and brand management, article writing, and professional Wikipedia editing. He is an expert Wikipedia editor and has helped hundreds of businesses and people post their articles to the site where they have otherwise failed. He is a regular contributor to many online publications including AllBusiness Experts, Yahoo, Business Insider, Business2Community, and Social Media Today.