Well, this is fun. The Funnelholic is now becoming a real journalist. So here is the deal. My post, The Funnelholic “How-to” guide to getting jacked by Wikipedia, was not only overall a good post, but also a conversation stirrer. A lot of my friends sent me emails liking the post and finding the whole situation fascinating. So, here is what we did…we went out and interviewed Kent Lewis from Anvil Media who runs the agency that lead the Wiki-gate. Kent has been really open and cool about the whole situation. Anvil Media, Inc. is a SEM agency doing SEO, PPC, SEM PR,ORM, and SMM.
So first do this:
1. Read my previous post: The Funnelholic “How-to” guide to getting jacked by Wikipedia
2. Make sure you read the Marketing Sherpa article: How to Use Wikipedia Entries for Lead Gen – 6 Steps to 18% Higher Conversion Rate
3. Then read this interview with Kent.
Funnelholic: Do you think that cooperating with the Marketing Sherpa story was a bad idea?
Kent Lewis: Extremely bad idea. Doing good work and sharing it with others as a learning experience applies everywhere but the blogosphere and wikisphere from what I can tell.
Funnelholic: Are community-based sites like Wikipedia worth investing in from a marketing point of view until the community evolves to accept commercial contributions?
Kent Lewis: If you can get in there, I’d say it’s worth doing…the Attensa case study speaks for itself, even if it’s the first and last of its kind.
Funnelholic: Did anyone really think there’d be no Wiki backlash when it was learned that PR people were writing content?
Kent Lewis: Nobody thought about it…I’m old school and have seen it all, but I really don’t spend much timing thinking about the 1% of the tech population that edits, but the 99% that value the content.
Funnelholic: Is there a more community-based approach to doing this – seeding the site with entries and encouraging customers and partners to add information, for instance?
Kent Lewis: Probably…we’ll encourage everyone to explore it while we’re in the Wikipedia doghouse. Hopefully the rules will evolve with technology and human behavior so that people and companies can share information and clear up inaccuracies in a timely manner.
Funnelholic: If, as a real expert, I contribute real valuable content to Wikipedia, regardless of a commercial or non-commercial tone, how can I make sure that it isn’t bastardized by either someone gaming the system or a rival or an idiot?
Kent Lewis: I would recommend monitoring any and all relevant pages/posts (perhaps via RSS) to catch any gaming, ineptitude or libel. Also, developing a relationship with editors is probably a good idea…I’ve learned Wikipedia is built on respect, which has to be earned, and sharing our story was disrespectful more than it was dishonest.
Funnelholic: Now that you have gone through the process, can you provide any insight on how to draw the fine line between ‘gaming’ the system and getting booted or providing valuable information that will stay up? Kent Lewis: Sorry, can’t help you there. Ask the Wikipedia editors. As far as I can tell, the only difference between gaming the system, providing valuable content and getting booted is whether or not you get caught. There’s a ton of crap/useless/inaccurate information on Wikipedia as much as there has been a ton of verifiable, factual, helpful, unique and unbiased content removed. If Wikipedia editors got beyond the grudge match power-tripping, they might find they’ve robbed their own visitors & fans of good content.
Funnelholic: Does the combination of Wikipedia and it’s automatic top-level-Google-search-result have too much power in this world where search is king?
Kent Lewis: Absolutely. I wouldn’t be upset if KNOL upset the balance with Wikipedia, as much as Cuil challenges Google. I’m not betting on either happening though.
Funnelholic: Now that you have been through this, any regrets?
Kent Lewis: Yes, not what we did, but simply that we talked about it. Fortunately, it has only generated fantastic new business opportunities, and we won’t stop telling our stories, just not about Wikipedia.