Want To Be Wikipedia-Worthy? It Costs $300

mywiki350-2.png
Here's another idea that would have made you rich if you had thought of it first (but didn't.)

Brooklynites Aaron Wertheimer and Erez Safer are now making "citation-heavy" Wikipedia entries for 300 bucks via their new biz, My Wiki Pro.

Their clientele mainly includes small businesses and bourgeoning artists.

Many of the duo's customers had tried to make Wikipedia pages themselves at one point, only to have them taken down for being too promotional, the Daily News notes.

The rub?

Well, there's that whole Wikipedia is THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA thing.

It's not that making money is necessarily bad* -- but there are key ethical concerns here.

If people are paying for content to be created about them, then the content should not be marketed as objective information such as an online encyclopedia entry. If this content does somehow wind up in this kind of medium, there should be a disclosure.

Unless we missed something, this doesn't seem to be the case.

Second, Wikipedia is a non-profit, so it operates based on donations. It's not immediately clear whether the business is donating to Wikipedia.

So, we kinda wonder: Is My Wiki Pro donating to Wikipedia?

And, generally speaking: Should a for-profit venture that profits off a non-profit contribute to said charitable organization?

We're reaching out to My Wiki Pro and Wikimedia for answers. We'll update when we hear back.

(*Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosures: whenever people bring up questions about business ethics, they often get labeled -- and summarily discredited -- for being on one side or the other of the political spectrum. So, before the trolling begins, let's be perfectly clear. Fuck no, I'm not on the right, but I sure as shit am not on the left, either. KTHXBAI)

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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4 comments
WikiEditor
WikiEditor

As a Wikipedia editor, I'm going to comment on this. This company cannot fulfill their claims.

First off, having a "citation heavy" article does not always guarantee that you will meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines. The type of people that use services like this almost always have things such as press releases, personal websites, blog entries, and other things that are considered to be primary or non-notable sources that don't show notability. These types of ploys are almost always noticed and deleted because none of the citations are usable for notability purposes, and if you're creating citations through sites that aren't reliable or just fabricating fake citations then that won't work for long either. Add in that companies like this are usually stupid enough to make the articles promotional, well...

Secondly, the second they opened their mouths they ensured that their articles would be discovered and deleted. It might take a while to find them all, but now people are actively looking for them and I believe that some of them have actually gone up for deletion.

We have people doing this all the time and I repeat ALL THE TIME. These companies are usually discovered and blocked the majority of the time. One of the most recent ones got a broad IP block because of their actions and their articles were almost entirely deleted. The companies that paid for their services no longer have articles. The worst thing about it? Companies like MWP are fully aware that their articles will meet with deletion within hours to months after they're made. Very few last longer than a year. Then that same company can get paid again to make another article. It's a scam and even if they were donating the money to nuns with cancer, it's still ripping someone off and wasting the time of a lot of Wikipedia workers that do all of their work for free.

Gregory Kohs
Gregory Kohs

It would seem that these fellows should have done a little more brand research before naming their enterprise after my own, MyWikiBiz, which is the first and longest-operating paid wiki editing service (since 2006). MyWikiBiz even has an article covering it in Wikipedia. I doubt the same will ever be said of "MyWikiPro". Good thing I know a very good Brooklyn attorney.

KC
KC

This is completely unethical. I don't want to go to wikipedia to read some self-promotional drivel. Entries for musicians should be written by unpaid, impartial people who don't have money on the line.

WikiEditor
WikiEditor

To put it bluntly, paid Wikipedia editors are seen as the cockroaches and rats of Wikipedia because the vast majority of them knowingly put up articles about people that have not, do not, and never will meet notability guidelines. They knowingly take the money from people for an article with a short life span, occasionally spamming Wikipedia with several incarnations of the same article under the same or slightly different names before finally getting blocked. These companies are not ignorant of the notability rules. They just don't care.  When they're caught, they usually turn around and accuse Wikipedia of several different things in the hopes of drawing attention away from the fact that they were pretty much posting puffed up and promotional articles that did not meet the notability guidelines and getting paid for it. What irritates most editors isn't that the editor is getting paid, but that again, they're getting paid for articles that they know aren't notable. Not every company they add is an overlooked notable figure, item, or company. Most times it's something along the lines of "Barbara Smith: nobody lawyer" or "Smith's Shovels Inc". To add to this, some companies will create sockpuppets or get their coworkers and family members to create accounts to try to vote favorably once an article gets selected for deletion- which is pretty much ballot stuffing.  This is just unethical for many reasons and creates a lot of work for a lot of people who would otherwise have had time to work on or add articles for people/items/places/etc that do meet notability guidelines.

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