Shock horror, the front page of PR Week carried the story that some of the UK’s top ten agencies have been caught editing client’s profiles on Wikipedia, contravening the websites’ rules.
They have been caught by a new programme, WikiScanner, that tracks the IP addresses of computers editing the site. One PR company made 25 edits to one clients’ profile while other entries tweaked by their agency included Pizza Hut, Carphone Warehouse and the Scottish Council Elections. Another managed to make edits and put in link to the client’s blog – not a good idea if you want to remain anonymous.
It is a problem though, isn’t it? Your client has an entry and you can see glaring errors in it. If you edit without logging-on your email address goes up so everyone knows who you are, and if you do create a log-on then Wiki knows who you are.
Simple answer, set up another email address on hotmail or yahoo or do the edits from home – or is that not in the right spirit? The fact of the matter is that Wikipedia can try all they can to ensure that the information is not manipulated – but people will always find ways around it.
Just like any newspaper, broadcast or online site the reader must remember that the information is only as accurate as the person who wrote it wanted it to be.