Businesses these days have greater accessibility to consumers than ever before thanks to the Internet, social media and mobile devices. However, this accessibility comes with a price: It’s easier than ever for businesses to do damage to their personal brand. Indeed, while some companies are savvy enough to use social media to greater advantage in interesting ways — think Chipotle’s fake Twitter hack — others simply struggle to connect, or worse, connect in a negative way.
For an example of this, look no further than Wikipedia, according to leading Wikipedia visibility and monitoring company WikiExperts. The company has released a comprehensive study of the Wikipedia profiles of Fortune 500 companies, revealing that one third of these have brand-damaging warnings on their profiles. These warnings indicate that the content of the profiles may be biased, inaccurate, poorly written or just plain unreliable.
"Most Internet users check information on companies and their executives using Wikipedia, so its impact on a brand's reputation is difficult to overstate," said Alex Konanykhin, founder and CEO of WikiExperts, in a statement. "Wikipedia has nearly 400 million unique visitors each month and is consulted 3,000 times per second, making it the primary resource for consumer and business information."
There’s also the fact that the Wikipedia profiles of 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies show up within the first 10 Google (News - Alert) search results, according to WikiExperts. In fact, 90 percent of these companies have their Wikipedia profile within the first five results, and 67 percent in the top three.
With this in mind, the fact that 50 Fortune 500 companies have the warning “This article appears to be written as an advertisement” on their Wikipedia profile is troubling. Meanwhile, 94 Fortune 500 companies have profiles that are flagged for unverified information; this includes such big names as Coca-Cola, Best Buy (News - Alert) and Sears Holdings.
Finally, 42 of these companies’ profiles are deemed either not neutral or possibly written by a primary resource. Two Fortune 500 companies, MRC Global and Susser Holdings Corporation, don’t have Wikipedia profiles at all.
Edited by Alisen Downey