Wiki-PR is a consulting firm That Marketed formerly the Ability to edit Wikipedia by “… Directly edit [ing] your page using our network of Established Wikipedia editors and admin [s].” [4] It was then banned, including all its employees, contractors, and owners, by the Wikipedia community for unethical editing. Despite the ban, the firm still markets (as of January 2017 ) its ability to advise clients on how to interact with the Wikipedia community. [5]

The company gained media attention in 2013 after a sockpuppet investigation related to the company resulted in more than 250 Wikipedia user accounts being blocked or banned. [6] The Wikimedia Foundation has changed its terms of use in the wake of the investigation, requiring anyone to edit Wikipedia to openly disclose their affiliations. [7] [8]

Company

Wiki-PR was created in 2010 by Darius Fisher, its current chief operating officer , and Jordan French, its current chief executive officer . [3] Confirmed clients include Viacom , among many others, Priceline and Emad Rahim . [4] The firm Claimed to-have Wikipedia administrator access [4] Enabling it to manage the Wikipedia presence of more than 12,000 customers. [9] Wiki-PR has been reported to use “aggressive email marketing” to acquire new customers. [10]

Investigation and company reaction

External audio
 Public Relations and suspicious pages on Wikipedia , CBC Radio , interview with Simon Owens, October 24, 2013

An investigation of sockpuppet accounts on Wikipedia, beginning in 2012, implicated hundreds of accounts. Wiki-PR Wiki-PR spoke anonymously to The Daily Dot journalist Simon Owens, and two others, Priceline.com and Emad Rahim, spoke to Vice- Journalist Martin Robbins. [10] [11] In addition to Violating rules contre sockpuppeting, Wiki-PR violated Wikipedia rules by Citing Articles That Were planted on Business glad farms and various other websites That accept contributions from Any Internet user as sources for Wikipedia entries, Creating a false Impression of credibility . [11] The same websites were used repeatedly, And their presence in various Wikipedia articles on the company had worked on. [11]

Wikipedia editing accounts Wikipedia edit Wikipedia edit Wikipedia edit Wikipedia edit Wikipedia edit Wikipedia edit Wikipedia edit Wiki Wikipedia has an article on: Wikipedia [12]

In 2014 the New York Times described Wiki-PR’s methods as:

(Wiki-PR) uses a lot of people, with different identities, to edit pages for paying customers and to manage those pages. The paid sock puppets are ready to pounce on the client’s vision. [13]

In The Wall Street Journal , “Wiki-PR is a research and writing firm, counseling clients on how to adhere to Wikipedia’s rules.” Wikipedia, the complementing of the work of unpaid volunteers. French acknowledged that Wiki-PR had sometimes made “bad calls” on notability of articles. He also stated “We do pay hundreds of other editors for their work-they’re real people and not sockpuppets.” [14] Instead, as reported by the International Business Times , Wiki-PR had been involved in “meatpuppetry” -a practice in which editors illegitimately encourages other individuals to edit in support of their position-in addition to planting articles in order to try and gerrymander better potential notability for its clients. [15]

Wikipedia’s and Wikimedia’s reaction

As of October 25, 2013 , Wiki-PR, including all of its employees, contractors, and owners, were banned from Wikipedia. Sue Gardner , former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation , stated that the Foundation was “exploring our options”. [16] On November 19, 2013, Wikimedia’s law firm, Cooley LLP , emailed a cease-and-desist letter to Wiki-PR. [A] [17] [18] French told The Guardian that Wiki-PR “is working with the Wikimedia Foundation and its counsel to sort this out,” and hoped to have further information in a week’s time. [19] The Wikimedia Foundation acknowledged communicating with Wiki-PR, But the Foundation rejected any implication that they were negotiating with Wiki-PR, saying that if Wiki-PR wanted to negotiate, Wiki-PR should turn to Wikipedia’s community. [20]

In June 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation updated its terms of use, forbidding undisclosed paid editing and requiring any paid editors to disclose their affiliation. [7] [8] The blog post Announcing the changes Stated That “Undisclosed paid advocacy editing is a black hat practice That can Threaten the trust of Wikimedia’s volontaires and readers. We-have serious Concerns about the way That Such editing affects the neutrality and reliability Of Wikipedia . ” [7] [8] Later in 2014, a number of large PR firms pledged to follow Wikipedia’s new and existing guidelines. [21]

See also

  • Status Labs

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The cease-and-desist letter, titled “C & D letter to WikiPR from Cooley,” ishere.

References

  1. Jump up^ “Wiki-PR: Wikipedia Writers For Hire” . Wiki-PR.com . Retrieved 2013-10-22 .
  2. Jump up^ “Wikipedia probe into paid-for ‘sockpuppet’ entries” . BBC News . 2013-10-21 . Retrieved 2013-10-22 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:e “Leadership” . Wiki-PR website . Archived from the original on 2013-10-21 . Retrieved 2014-01-26 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:c Robbins, Martin (2013-10-20). “Is Wikipedia for Sale?” . Motherboard.vice.com . Retrieved 2013-10-20 . Wikipedia editors and admins Wikipedia editors and admins
  5. Jump up^ “Wiki-PR: The Wikipedia Consultants” . Wiki-PR.com . Retrieved 2013-12-27 . Wikipedia community: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  6. Jump up^ “Wikipedia editors, locked in battle with PR firm, delete 250 accounts” . Ars Technica .
  7. ^ Jump up to:c Elder, Jeff (2014-06-16). “Wikipedia Strengthens Rules Against Undisclosed Editing” . Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 2015-12-04 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:c Brigham, Geoff (2014-06-14). “Making a change to our Terms of Use: Requirements for Disclosure” . Wikimedia Foundation . Retrieved 2015-09-14 .
  9. Jump up^ “Wiki-PR homepage” . Wiki-PR . Retrieved 2013-10-19 .
  10. ^ Jump up to:b Owens, Simon (2013-10-08). “The battle to destroy Wikipedia’s biggest sockpuppet army” . The Daily Dot . Retrieved 2013-10-20 .
  11. ^ Jump up to:c Robbins, Martin (2013-10-19). “Is the PR Industry Buying Influence Over Wikipedia?” . VICE . Retrieved 2013-10-19 .
  12. Jump up^ Stampler, Laura (2013-10-21). “Wikipedia Bans 250 Users for Posting Paid, Promotional Entries” . TIME . Retrieved 2013-11-19 .
  13. Jump up^ Newman, Judith (2014-01-08). “Wikipedia-Mania Wikipedia, What Does Judith Newman Have to Do to Get a Page?” . New York Times . Retrieved 2014-01-11 .
  14. Jump up^ Fowler, Geoffrey (2013-10-21). “Wikipedia Probes Suspicious Promotional Articles” . The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 2013-11-17 .
  15. Jump up^ Thomas Halleck (November 8, 2013). “Wikipedia And Paid Edits: Companies Pay Top Dollar To Firms Willing To ‘Fix’ Their Entries” .
  16. Jump up^ Burrell, Ian (2013-10-21). “Wikipedia: We have blocked 250 ‘sock puppets’ for biased editing of our pages . The Independent . Retrieved 2013-11-19 .
  17. Jump up^ Fowler, Geoffrey (2013-11-19). “Wikimedia Steps Up” Sockpuppet “Fight” . The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 2013-11-19 .
  18. Jump up^ Halleck, Thomas (2013-11-22). “Wikipedia Sends Paid Editors Cease-And-Desist: Sockpuppet Account Morning277, Not Wiki-PR” . International Business Times . Retrieved 2014-01-27 .
  19. Jump up^ Arthur, Charles (2013-11-21). “Wikipedia sends cease-and-desist letter to PR firm offering paid edits to site” . The Guardian . Retrieved 2013-11-22 .
  20. Jump up^ Burrell, Ian (2013-11-20). “Wikipedia names Texas PR firm over false manipulation of site entries” . The Independent . Retrieved 2014-02-08 .
  21. Jump up^ “Group Of Major PR Firms Pledge To Play Nice On Wikipedia”. Tech Dirt . 2013-06-14 . Retrieved 2014-08-16 .

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