A paid Wikipedia editor will post anything you pay them for. A professional Wikipedia editor will only post what adheres to Wikipedia guidelines and will advise you throughout the article creation process.
There has been quite a bit of news lately about people accepting compensation to create and edit Wikipedia articles.
I have been a professional Wikipedia editor for numerous years and make a decent living doing so. I run a professional Wikipedia editing service and provide clients with consultation and article creation.
I am not shy to say that there are many freelancers who offer paid Wikipedia editing services, but only a few that can be considered “professional.”
If you are looking to hire someone to create a Wikipedia article for you, it is good to understand the different types of editors who get paid to edit Wikipedia. Choosing the right one can mean the difference between having a great Wikipedia page and having an article full of ugly tags or even worse (not having one at all).
Paid editors do NOT work for the Wikimedia Foundation:
First you need to know that not all paid Wikipedia editors originate from the same location and provide the same services. Although there have been numerous employees of the Wikimedia Foundation caught accepting money in exchange for the creation and/or favorable placement of Wikipedia articles, the profession of paid editing does not come from within the Foundation.
Professional Wikipedia editing is something that is done independent of the Wikimedia Foundation and can be found with a simple Google search or by checking out a freelance website.
Again, I need to reiterate that you cannot hire a Wikipedia editor from the Wikimedia Foundation or from Wikipedia itself. In fact, paid editing is hated by the Wikipedia community at large.
Your donations to the Wikimedia Foundation do not matter either, as you can donate all the money in the world and still not have someone from the Foundation create an article for you.
Advocacy editing versus professional editing on Wikipedia:
In order to understand the difference between professional Wikipedia editing and paid advocacy, we need to understand how the Wikipedia community looks at advocacy editing. The community identifies advocacy and paid editing in the same category and does not distinguish them apart.
They see ALL edits made in exchange for compensation to be paid advocacy. Now that you know that editors in the community do not distinguish, take a look at the actual difference between the two.
Advocacy quite simply is defined as the process of trying to influence a particular outcome. In the case of Wikipedia, this means that someone is trying to post an article and convince the Wikipedia community that the content they wrote about a particular subject belongs in Wikipedia. This is the opposite of how a Wikipedia article should be created and ultimately leads to issues with articles.
Paid advocates take any content provided to them by a company or person and post it as-is to Wikipedia without regard to guidelines or policies.
Since most of the time paid advocacy does not conform to Wikipedia guidelines, is promotional in tone, and simply does not belong on Wikipedia, you will find it being reverted or deleted.
A professional Wikipedia editor is different. A professional Wikipedia editor works in the same manner as any other professional such as a doctor, lawyer, financial advisor, etc. A professional editor may start with copy that was provided to them by a client, but takes the time to go through the content, cut out the fat, and format the article in accordance to Wikipedia guidelines.
Professional editors make sure that the tone of the article is not promotional and that the article does not read like someone’s resume or a sales pitch. The client is advised of the process prior to starting any work and kept in the loop throughout the process. A professional is also able to create an article from scratch without the client providing them with any content whatsoever.
Be careful of freelance websites:
I for one use Elance and Freelancer on a regular basis; however, I no longer do so for Wikipedia projects. Freelance websites are great for finding projects and connecting employers with freelancers, but when it comes to Wikipedia it can be dangerous.
There are two main reasons why you need to be careful posting a Wikipedia project on freelance websites.
The first is that you can wind up with someone who is inexperienced at editing Wikipedia and are likely to be a paid advocate as opposed to a professional. The other is that volunteer Wikipedia editors are always looking for jobs posted to these websites so that they can destroy the work done by paid editors.
Why would volunteer editors care about others being paid to edit? I cannot say for sure.
Whether jealousy or the belief that paid editing is evil, volunteer editors go crazy about paid editing to the point that they stalk freelance websites.
In fact, I receive emails on a daily basis, many from volunteer editors disguising who they are, in an attempt to get me to disclose previous work. Fortunately, I do not disclose my clients so they cannot destroy articles I have worked on, but this still happens on a regular basis through freelance websites.
If you post your project publicly on these sites, you are starting off at a disadvantage as the eyes of these editors are watching even before your article is posted. Once the article is posted, you can bet that it will be destroyed in a matter of days (or even hours).
When looking for someone to help create a Wikipedia article, do you want someone who gets you there the right way or someone who is going to throw your article against a wall and hope that it sticks?
Keep in mind that the more times an article is deleted, the harder it is to get posted again. As such, you are likely to pay more if you go to a professional Wikipedia editing service on your second or third try than if you went to them in the first place.
While choosing someone from a freelance website may seem affordable, it can ultimately lead to your article being deleted and more headaches for you down the road.