PR Campaigns – The blog

November 13, 2008

PR and Wikipedia

Filed under: CAST Communication — mekelly1 @ 2:13 pm

I came across this post on PR Squared that discusses the ethical use of Wikipedia by public relations professionals. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia created by people who are knowledgeable about a certain topic, and it can be edited and changed by others. According to the blog, marketers have been known to take advantage of this public editing option by creating or editing entries that would be considered a conflict of interest to them. There are rules on Wikipedia that discourage self-promotion. Even if the people monitoring Wikipedia don’t catch you, competitors or other readers will. 

Wikipedia is not the most reliable source of information and fact checking is required, but many people are not aware of this and take Wikipedia as fact. So it is important for PR professionals to monitor Wikipedia posts about their client or organization because it can severely damage their reputation if incorrect information is posted on the site. Because of this PR professionals argue that they should be able to edit the information themselves in order for it to be accurate.

What role do you see Wikipedia playing in public relations? Do you think PR professionals should work the system in order to post about their clients and organizations?



  1. I think Wikipedia is a tricky subject. As a college student, I am guilty of getting a definition or two off the site. As a PR professional, I don’t think I would rely on its so-called accuracy. As far as monitoring Wikipedia pages related to clients, I think there are more valuable and beneficial things to do to support a client. I have rarely heard of a crisis communication situation due to an entry on Wikipedia. If this was an effort a PR firm decided to pursue, it could be resourceful, but I don’t think it would make too much of a difference.

    Comment by letsgoblogging — November 18, 2008 @ 12:44 am | Reply

  2. These are the type of people that are giving PR a bad reputation! I do not think Wikipedia should ever be used to promote anything. Basically any PR professional that uses Wikipedia as a source in any way is not a professional in my eyes. The only positive use I can think of for Wikipedia is to find out what something is when you have literally no idea. Otherwise it is not very reliable at all.

    Comment by knish21087 — November 18, 2008 @ 2:56 am | Reply

  3. While it may not be the most effective use of time, and thus far no crises have emerged from incorrect information on Wikipedia, I think it is still a venue that should be monitored occasionally for accuracy. If others are allowed to post false statements about your organization on the site, as a PR professional, you are completely within your rights–and responsibilities–to change the information to be true. It certainly doesn’t need to be monitored on a daily or weekly basis, but you never know–you could always be the first to have a crisis through Wikipedia.

    Comment by kakeane — November 18, 2008 @ 11:48 am | Reply

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