My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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Wikipedia used for viral marketing

Check out this Boing Boing post on using wikipedia for viral marketing. Of particular interest is a quote from one of their readers:

I can’t say who I am, but I do work at a company that uses Wikipedia as a key part of online marketing strategies. That includes planting of viral information in entries, modification of entries to point to new promotional sites or “leaks” embedded in entries to test diffusion of information. Wikipedia is just a more transparent version of Myspace as far as some companies are concerned. We love it (evil laugh).

::cough:: Clay! Comments???

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6 comments to Wikipedia used for viral marketing

  • vincebowdren

    Sounds like a troll. It is known that companies do try and skew wikipedia entries in their favour, but they also tend to get noticed and fixed pretty quickly, so far at least.

  • Ken

    It must be the heat. I’m not normally this “challenged.” My apologies for the echopost.

  • Remember that non-open-source textbooks also increasingly fall victim to marketing messages. The difference is that anyone can put their message on Wikipedia and anyone can cry foul and fix damage; only rich corporations can poison the textbooks and it’s very difficult to fix the damage because textbooks don’t have Wikipedia’s self-healing mechanism.

    Certainly the content in Encyclopedia Brittanica isn’t sprinkled with Nike and M&M’s propaganda (yet?) and I agree with many of your arguments about Wikipedia. But not this one. Susceptibility to marketing messages is a weak point here because in theory the more people see a piece of wikispam, the faster it will be fixed.

  • you know about MySpace, right? the way they Sell marketing from details collected by the forums on there to … all sorts of people, certainly Music Labels. “this music really speaks to me” – some kid thinks (yeah it was written for you.)

    I think that’s worse than some BBC employee’s actions. But BoingBoing haven’t devoted a post to it yet 🙁

    Anyone got further details?

  • The new distributed viral forum/blog/wiki/classified/etc viral advertising engine is here. Spread the word about your product or service in short amount of time to millions of people. Get residual traffic and increase search engine visibility by using long lasting backlinks. Low cost, no pay per click fraud issues and great ROI. http://widecircles.com?imt=3