Wikipedia marketing for startups

Some words still can’t be said aloud
Some things still wait to be allowed
The sun can still be seen above the hill
The fire still can thrill
And God preserves me still.

Mashina Vremeni – Koster

When I need to find a web service or a program, naturally, I search it up in Google. For example, at the moment I am looking for a ‘list of web analytics software’ or ‘web analytics software’. Very often web pages like ’10 Promising Free Web Analytics Tools’ pop up, which are helpful to some extent but I started to notice that with every search Wikipedia web pages are at the top of the list.
In this example ‘List of web analytics software – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia’ is shown first but it is not always like this, especially if you don’t know that you have to use the prefix ‘List of’.

For example, search results for ‘web based project management’ do not contain a single link to Wikipedia. On the other hand ‘list of web based project management’ gives a link to ‘Comparison of project management software’ on Wikipedia. So we came to the conclusion that another prefix that can be used is ‘Comparison of’. But let’s return to the example about searching for web analytics software. When I first went to this page Clicky was not there. I found them earlier elsewhere while searching GA like service allowing to track individual users. I wrote them and, of course, they instantly added themselves, thanking me. Same Wikipedia page didn’t mention Mixpanel or KISSmetrics which Ash Maurya writes about in his blog and it’s sad once you realize that you found them accidentally. Do they think about how people are finding them?

Before this I was searching for a system like uservoice.com. I won’t begin to describe how difficult it was to find the right terminology Wikipedia uses to describe these systems – ‘Customer Feedback Management services’. Notice that the list of programs is just located lower on the same page and for some reason wasn’t separated into ‘List of Customer Feedback Management services’ page. In any case there is no free IdeaTorrent found by me or a Russian clone* – Reformal. Being a caring person and thinking of the people who will search for ‘feedback management services’ after me I wrote the creators of IdeaTorrent and Reformal and advised to add themselves to this to Wikipedia. As you can see they still haven’t added themselves to Wikipedia. Strange isn’t it?

Now that we are making our own web service I know for sure that the first thing to do is not worrying about profits but thinking about your users and how easy it is for them to find you – create a web page dedicated to your product in Wikipeda, for example dotProject, link it to a comparison page, and if this page doesn’t exist, create it yourself.

What is happening now? There is an article ‘Code review’ on Wikipedia with a reference on Jason Cohen’s book ‘Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review’. There is a product created by Jason, Code Collaborator but there is not a single word of this product or comparison of products alike on Wikipedia. So that’s why everybody’s search of Review Board, Crucible from Atlassian and so on and so on and so on** plus something else from Microsoft takes time and often brings frustration.

We will probably write an update for this post later having personal experience with Wikipedia’s moderators, and for now Clicky has been removed from the ‘List of web analytics software’ page. I asked Clicky co-founder Noah Merritt why his company info was removed from comparison page. His answer is: “No idea. Wikipedia editors are very fickle-minded. I will still try to re-submit but after I create a Clicky page.”

Why do you think creators of products don’t want to be seen on Wikipedia?
What difficulties could there be when trying to communicate with Wikipedia moderators? Of course, we understand it, without moderators Wikipedia would become a site for adds rather than an encyclopedia.

* – according to Wikipedia – the original idea belongs to the company Kenlet which was acquired by Salesforce and started ‘web based feedback management’ saga – “Kenlet[12] (January 2007) – Original product CrispyNews used at Salesforce IdeaExchange[13] and Dell IdeaStorm [14]. Now relaunched as Salesforce Ideas.”

** – other code revision systems: Rietveld, Codestricker, JCR, Groogle, Jupiter


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