Revolutionary Measures

Why Wikipedia matters

Cancer Research UK - High Street Awareness Cam...

Image by Scootzsx via Flickr

The BBC has a big piece today on how charity Cancer Research UK is making a concerted attempt to update relevant sections of Wikipedia. Hardly earthshattering as news – all companies should be monitoring/updating relevant Wikipedia content, though many quite obviously don’t. Working directly with Wikipedia, Cancer Research UK’s subject experts will update a wide range of content relating to cancer, from symptoms to the latest research.

What’s interesting to me (and should be a wake up call to all marketers) is that it shows that compelling content alone isn’t enough on the web. When it comes to getting people to view your information, SEO is king.

Cancer Research UK has realised this – it knows that in a simple search Wikipedia is going to be higher up the list than its own site and people believe what they read on Wikipedia. So it is taking smart action to get its message to the right people. Wikipedia benefits from the addition of expert pages and web surfers have a better chance of accessing the latest information, rather than dangerously out of date or inaccurate content. Everyone wins. It’s a tactic that other marketers should be looking to copy, no matter what industry they are in.


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April 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Quora is the answer, what is the question?

The New Year has seen a ton of hype about Quora, the community-based question and answer site. In part this is due to its pedigree, with a management team that left Facebook to set the company up, secondly a lack of news prior to CES and finally a reflection of the basic human interest in asking questions (and giving answers). Just look at the number of failed attempts to provide intelligent question answering – Ask Jeeves being a prime example.

But while the ability for anyone to provide answers is interesting, I think it could be the site/network’s Achilles heel. Essentially, rather than using smart technology to catalogue existing content on the net, like Cambridge-based True Knowledge, Quora relies on it all being resubmitted. Great if you are a journalist looking for a range of responses for an article, but difficult to scale and not helpful if you are in a real hurry. How many Quora replies could have been handled through a Google or Wikipedia search and a bit of lateral thinking?

Essentially Quora is point technology – a cynical take on the current hype is that it has a smallish window to build subscribers and sell itself to another social network before they build the technology themselves. Like the rather sparse Future of Quora topic, what happens next to the company is difficult to predict.

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January 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment