Saturday, January 21, 2006

Wikipedia, the Company Index

I don't know how I got where I was going, but for some reason I got there. I was listening to an podcast interview of Scott Sigler, where he was talking about how he started perhaps the first podcast of an audio book, which ended up helping him get his book published. I had never really thought of using a podcast for that purpose, and started wondering what else people might be using podcasts for. I decided to hop on over to Wikipedia since the site seems to be almost omniscient. Then my mind jumped to something completely off topic...

Wikipedia boasts over 900,000 entries, which is more than any encyclopedia that I know of, so I though that just maybe I might find an article for the company I work for. It is a pretty big company, so I figured I had a 50/50 shot. So I searched. ...Nope, no entry.

I thought to myself, maybe people just don't use Wikipedia for companies, or maybe self-promoting company articles were removed. So I searched for "IBM". ...Yep, found them.

I started following the "see also" links at the bottom of the article. It let me to level after level in reverse, all the way to a top level list of company categories. On the way up I found companies listed by state, by country, by city, by the exchange on where they are traded, by industry, by revenue, and any other classification I could find.

So, where was my company?

Ok, so maybe not every company is listed, I can understand that. So I searched for a company that I heard about on a podcast, 37 Signals, which is a very small company of only 7 employees. So I searched. ...Yup, they have one.

Let me try searching for one of my favorite TV stations (no, not Fox), The History Channel. Yep, they have one too. They even have the company logo in the article, not to mention a list of all of their shows. The list though seems incomplete, at the end of the list of shows it says, "This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it".

So, what is the moral of my story?

There isn't any moral. It is interesting though at the types of information available on Wikipedia, even if my company isn't listed. I consider my self an unfrequent Wikipedia user, but I may need to do some digging to see what gems I can find there. ...And I think my company needs to have their own entry.

Update [8:44 am] - I was surfing Wikipedia, and decided to search for a PBEM I play called Lords of the Earth, I figured that there was a small chance that I might find it. ...Yeah, it was there. Even the last company I worked for, which went bankrupt in 2000 is listed.


Life G said...

Hi, are you allowed to advertise your company from the wikipedia? I had the same experience. I would like to put one entry of my company into wiki, but I am not sure I can do that. Maybe they will remove it someday.

Robert Hanson said...

I would probably say that the answer is no, you can't advertise on Wikipedia... but posting information about a large company really isn't advertising, as long as you present the facts and not marketing claims.