Editing the Wikipedia Entry about your company

October 16 2011

A client recently asked us about editing Wikipedia articles about one’s own company,

Wikipedia discusses it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Organizations

Am I allowed to edit articles about myself or my organization?
An important guideline here is our guideline on conflict of interest. You are discouraged from writing articles about yourself or organizations (including their campaigns, clients, products and services) in which you hold a vested interest. However, if you feel that there is material within an existing article which is incorrect, or not neutral in its tone, please point this out on the article’s talk page. Likewise, if you have content which you think should be added, please discuss this on the talk page. Editing articles that you are affiliated with is not completely prohibited; you may do so as specified within the COI guideline, but you must follow our policies. You are expected to allow other editors to revise your contributions as they see fit. If you follow our basic rules, your edits should be accepted by the community. If you don’t, however, your edits may be reverted and you may end up blocked if you attempt to insist on your version or otherwise thwart the collaborative efforts of the community to reach a version of the article based on the consensus of the community.

In short it’s not completely prohibited, but seems to be strongly discouraged.I would limit direct edits to the content to correcting factual errors in cases where the facts, once corrected are backed up by a credible source.
If one does edit a Wikipedia article their IP Address and/or username are recorded and can be seen by others.So it is generally not a good idea to edit Wikipedia pages about one’s own firm.It is important to check if there is an active community involved in editing and updating Wikipedia entries pertaining to your company or industry. If so, any edits could trigger alerts to the various interested parties.For this reason editing done on your behalf should include a focus on adding relevant positive content rather than on removing negative content.In terms of our role, editing Wikipedia pages is something that we can do for clients, always focusing on emphasizing positive content that may have been missed and correcting mistakes.In some cases we will soften or remove negative content – when we feel that doing so is within the realm of what Wikipedia’s suggestions would accept.We feel that being too aggressive in editing of Wikipedia entries could backfire and cause more harm than good.Andy lastly, if your company is in a crisis or could be soon, it’s not the right time to create a brand new Wikipedia entry. The day that the crisis arrives you can be sure that someone will be “kind” enough to update your Wikipedia page to make it current.

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