Can Wikipedia Work with Affiliate Marketing?

35 thoughts on “Can Wikipedia Work with Affiliate Marketing?”

  1. “Is there a way to tastefully and ethically use Wikipedia to promote an affiliate program?”

    No, there is not. Wikipedia is an enyclopedia. It is not intended for promotion. Any attempts to use it for such purposes will be removed.

  2. “Is there a way to tastefully and ethically use Wikipedia to promote an affiliate program?”

    No, there is not. Wikipedia is an enyclopedia. It is not intended for promotion. Any attempts to use it for such purposes will be removed.

  3. Be careful with creating articles to something where you are associated with directly. There is not “law” against it, but it is not recommended and despised by almost every editor and admin

    Add to that the fact that a lot of Wikipedians look at those “commercial sites” that are most of the time “full” of advertisement with a lot of suspicion. They trust “marketers” only as much as you trust a known “thug”. The side effects of years of spam and vandalism clean up I guess.

    And Sam, I only have to use one hand to count people from the industry that provide at least from time to time any kind of contribution to affiliate marketing related articles at Wikipedia.

    I extended the 3 lines long CJ Article that was almost permanently deleted (AfD process) to pretty much what it is now. I also created the Linkshare and Perfomics article, the Affiliate Networks article and some SEO related articles as well. ShareASale is on my to-do list 🙂

    You can not just type any crap into the new created page and call it an article. Look at the edit histories and talk pages of the articles and you will get some ideas. Also check the Wikipedia guidelines to various topics about content, style, references, notability, linking etc. to avoid deletion of you work or worse, flag as “spammer”. I also availble for help and tips. Just leave me a note at my user talk page.

    You can find a good collection of resources on my userpage.

    Btw. I am looking for any accountable data, like a research or study that shows if and how much revenue a merchant was able to increase because of the implementation of an affiliate program. I had to remove the claim that it increases revenue by xx% from the affiliate marketing article, because I could not find any reliable source to back that claim up. Any Ideas?

    Your post is a lot “nicer” than my “rant” in November hehe.

    Cheers!
    Carsten

  4. Be careful with creating articles to something where you are associated with directly. There is not “law” against it, but it is not recommended and despised by almost every editor and admin

    Add to that the fact that a lot of Wikipedians look at those “commercial sites” that are most of the time “full” of advertisement with a lot of suspicion. They trust “marketers” only as much as you trust a known “thug”. The side effects of years of spam and vandalism clean up I guess.

    And Sam, I only have to use one hand to count people from the industry that provide at least from time to time any kind of contribution to affiliate marketing related articles at Wikipedia.

    I extended the 3 lines long CJ Article that was almost permanently deleted (AfD process) to pretty much what it is now. I also created the Linkshare and Perfomics article, the Affiliate Networks article and some SEO related articles as well. ShareASale is on my to-do list 🙂

    You can not just type any crap into the new created page and call it an article. Look at the edit histories and talk pages of the articles and you will get some ideas. Also check the Wikipedia guidelines to various topics about content, style, references, notability, linking etc. to avoid deletion of you work or worse, flag as “spammer”. I also availble for help and tips. Just leave me a note at my user talk page.

    You can find a good collection of resources on my userpage.

    Btw. I am looking for any accountable data, like a research or study that shows if and how much revenue a merchant was able to increase because of the implementation of an affiliate program. I had to remove the claim that it increases revenue by xx% from the affiliate marketing article, because I could not find any reliable source to back that claim up. Any Ideas?

    Your post is a lot “nicer” than my “rant” in November hehe.

    Cheers!
    Carsten

  5. I think it was your post in November that got me really thinking about affiliate marketing in particular. Wikipedia is not “immune” from marketers as some of us know (even to the chagrin of purists like me), and I think it allows for the question of what actually constitutes marketing. Is talking about Bill Gates marketing? When I wear an Ubuntu tshirt am I marketing? When we look at the great Firefox or Meebo page on Wikipedia, are we being marketed to?

    There’s no such thing as a marketing free medium as we’re all trying to convince each others of ideas or products or programs that we all believe in. Is there over the top marketing and should that be banned from a site such as Wikipedia? Sure.

    Anyway, thanks for your incredible and time-consuming work. I noticed your improvements on the Affiliate Marketing entry and definitely appreciate those personally as I’ve been able to refer even a few “A Listers” to that page recently as a source of info on what we are doing in this niche. So, keep it up and let me know if you need any direct help.

  6. I think it was your post in November that got me really thinking about affiliate marketing in particular. Wikipedia is not “immune” from marketers as some of us know (even to the chagrin of purists like me), and I think it allows for the question of what actually constitutes marketing. Is talking about Bill Gates marketing? When I wear an Ubuntu tshirt am I marketing? When we look at the great Firefox or Meebo page on Wikipedia, are we being marketed to?

    There’s no such thing as a marketing free medium as we’re all trying to convince each others of ideas or products or programs that we all believe in. Is there over the top marketing and should that be banned from a site such as Wikipedia? Sure.

    Anyway, thanks for your incredible and time-consuming work. I noticed your improvements on the Affiliate Marketing entry and definitely appreciate those personally as I’ve been able to refer even a few “A Listers” to that page recently as a source of info on what we are doing in this niche. So, keep it up and let me know if you need any direct help.

  7. I tried it a while back… added an entry for ShareASale… and now – i look – and I see it is gone (somebody deleted it?)

    Here is the problem with Wiki as I see it. Remembering back, I submitted a very non-salesy, information only, simple, short, verifiable entry. Recognizing the pitfalls of Wiki and commercialism – I hereby declare that the article should not have been deleted. Oh well, I have added an alternate article, hopefully also not too sales pitched and informational only.

    Or is my memory failing me…and I really didn’t do all that at all.

    This reminds me of my days being a dMOZ editor – and then being over-trumped by a bigger dMOZ’er, etc… in other words… a pain.

    But I love Wiki – best Wiki moment of all time was from the Colbert show. If you didn’t see him convince all of Wiki nation that elephant populations were on the rise, you missed a great show. Speaking of 2.0 web stuff Sam… watch Colbert… he might be TV 2.0 in his use of social networking sites and general “audience participation” etc… which is similar to 2.0 web.

  8. I tried it a while back… added an entry for ShareASale… and now – i look – and I see it is gone (somebody deleted it?)

    Here is the problem with Wiki as I see it. Remembering back, I submitted a very non-salesy, information only, simple, short, verifiable entry. Recognizing the pitfalls of Wiki and commercialism – I hereby declare that the article should not have been deleted. Oh well, I have added an alternate article, hopefully also not too sales pitched and informational only.

    Or is my memory failing me…and I really didn’t do all that at all.

    This reminds me of my days being a dMOZ editor – and then being over-trumped by a bigger dMOZ’er, etc… in other words… a pain.

    But I love Wiki – best Wiki moment of all time was from the Colbert show. If you didn’t see him convince all of Wiki nation that elephant populations were on the rise, you missed a great show. Speaking of 2.0 web stuff Sam… watch Colbert… he might be TV 2.0 in his use of social networking sites and general “audience participation” etc… which is similar to 2.0 web.

  9. Colbert grew up about 45 mins away from me. I’m a huge fan and have been watching him since the comedy troupe and Daily Show days. He is definitely 2.0 even though he ripped off the Star Wars Kid with the green screen challenge…. though seeing him get into it with the Decemberists (one of my fav bands) was great.

    I agree on the Wiki frustrations. I’ve pointed others to the difficulties that real “thought shapers” have when a post is written about them. Tara Hunt, one of my heroes, has had her post deleted a couple of times, which is totally ridiculous as she helped spawn web2.0 and pinko marketing.

    Hopefully, things will mellow out there and find a good balance (if there is one… it’s debatable) between marketing and content.

  10. Colbert grew up about 45 mins away from me. I’m a huge fan and have been watching him since the comedy troupe and Daily Show days. He is definitely 2.0 even though he ripped off the Star Wars Kid with the green screen challenge…. though seeing him get into it with the Decemberists (one of my fav bands) was great.

    I agree on the Wiki frustrations. I’ve pointed others to the difficulties that real “thought shapers” have when a post is written about them. Tara Hunt, one of my heroes, has had her post deleted a couple of times, which is totally ridiculous as she helped spawn web2.0 and pinko marketing.

    Hopefully, things will mellow out there and find a good balance (if there is one… it’s debatable) between marketing and content.

  11. I wikified the post Brian. Btw. you did obviously not read my previous comment that was directed to Shawn 🙂 .. anyway.. I saw it and took care of it to prevent another deletion. Shawn and you took the phrase: be bold to heart, which continues “in updating pages” btw. and not “in creating pages” hehe. I created my first one after 6+ months and a couple hundred edits.

    Same tip (too late again too): use a related article that is older as reference. look at the wikitext code (click “edit” but don’t change anything and don’t press “save”) Categories where the related article is assigned to probably fits the new one too, unless it is specific such as the categories for “year the business was established” or geographic categories like “widgets in California”.

    I hope you start improving existing articles as well and don’t consider your contribution as plenty and enough 🙂

    Thanks though.. and I left you a message on your user talk page that you get to know how that goes as well. Shawn figured that one out in no time. Well, marketers .. what do you expect? pretending to be something else? hehe.

    Cheers!

  12. I wikified the post Brian. Btw. you did obviously not read my previous comment that was directed to Shawn 🙂 .. anyway.. I saw it and took care of it to prevent another deletion. Shawn and you took the phrase: be bold to heart, which continues “in updating pages” btw. and not “in creating pages” hehe. I created my first one after 6+ months and a couple hundred edits.

    Same tip (too late again too): use a related article that is older as reference. look at the wikitext code (click “edit” but don’t change anything and don’t press “save”) Categories where the related article is assigned to probably fits the new one too, unless it is specific such as the categories for “year the business was established” or geographic categories like “widgets in California”.

    I hope you start improving existing articles as well and don’t consider your contribution as plenty and enough 🙂

    Thanks though.. and I left you a message on your user talk page that you get to know how that goes as well. Shawn figured that one out in no time. Well, marketers .. what do you expect? pretending to be something else? hehe.

    Cheers!

  13. Carsten,

    I am actually in Vail late for a chairlift, so I will have to further my post later because I feel what you have posted above about editors and admins represents the greatest threat to Wiki as well as social networking and 2.0 sites.

    However, wanted to ask if maybe you wanted to removed the word “Performics” from the ShareASale Wiki page… I would do it, but I’m not feeling “bold”!

  14. Carsten,

    I am actually in Vail late for a chairlift, so I will have to further my post later because I feel what you have posted above about editors and admins represents the greatest threat to Wiki as well as social networking and 2.0 sites.

    However, wanted to ask if maybe you wanted to removed the word “Performics” from the ShareASale Wiki page… I would do it, but I’m not feeling “bold”!

  15. Wikipedia is definately not the place for marketers to promote merchants or products, and any such attempt should be stopped. However, there is a solution for those who simply cannot completely ignore the Wiki. There is a directory which I assume is part of the main Wikipedia which is the Wiki Directory. Anyone can submit websites into the directory if the sites are Whitelisted.

    http://www.wikidweb.com/
    WikiWeb – Directory of the Web

    At least this directory allows most submission of websites, thereby allowing affiliates like me to submit main niche sites into a new directory without review.

    Do any of you know if this is actually part of the main Wikipedia Project?

  16. Wikipedia is definately not the place for marketers to promote merchants or products, and any such attempt should be stopped. However, there is a solution for those who simply cannot completely ignore the Wiki. There is a directory which I assume is part of the main Wikipedia which is the Wiki Directory. Anyone can submit websites into the directory if the sites are Whitelisted.

    http://www.wikidweb.com/
    WikiWeb – Directory of the Web

    At least this directory allows most submission of websites, thereby allowing affiliates like me to submit main niche sites into a new directory without review.

    Do any of you know if this is actually part of the main Wikipedia Project?

  17. Hi Brian,

    The mistrust is not coming out of nowhere and to be honest, they have all reason to be suspicious. The “bad” marketers and spammers came to Wikipedia either first or in numbers that made the “good” marketer appear not to be existing.

    Remember the association of Email Spammers = Affiliates, thus Affiliates = Spammers. Some people still believe that. It put the industry in position where it had to show and proof to outsiders that it is not guilty.

    When I started at Wikipedia I was not trusted at all. The Editors I ran into have seen over the years people like me come and go and probably suspected a hidden agenda or just somebody else that is riding on the hype. I wasn’t alone. There were a bunch and we supported each other, but we didn’t know what they knew.

    Non of the people from 1 year ago that were new as I was are around very much today. I told the Vets that I will prove them that I am not a one-day fly and here to stay and I proved it to them. This earned me the respect and trust of some of the ones that were “against me” back then.

    I accepted most of the established rules but also challenged a few.

    I found others like me, people from the industry that did stick around. We help each other out and also watch each other. If you go a little overboard with something, you get a tab on the shoulder and a remark or question that makes you re-think and question what you just did and fix it.

    Germans were also in such position after the 2 world wars. In regions of great suffering because of German intervention did the Germans that came there to help, work and find friendship had to overcome mistrust and prejudice. “No, not every German is like the 100 Germans you have met in your live so far”. Really? Proof it! And that was what the Germans did and still do.

    That is the price you pay for the bad impression your peers left before you came. You also learn that you need to take an active role against the bad ones of your peer that undermine the effort.

    I spent more time and efforts at Article and User Talk pages than articles itself. I recommend to check the talk pages and also the edit history of an existing article you are interested in to learn about the past issues, ideas, discussions, conflicts and people that also have an interest into a topic like you do.

    Nobody said that it is easy, but since when are humans easy in the first place? right? 🙂

  18. Hi Brian,

    The mistrust is not coming out of nowhere and to be honest, they have all reason to be suspicious. The “bad” marketers and spammers came to Wikipedia either first or in numbers that made the “good” marketer appear not to be existing.

    Remember the association of Email Spammers = Affiliates, thus Affiliates = Spammers. Some people still believe that. It put the industry in position where it had to show and proof to outsiders that it is not guilty.

    When I started at Wikipedia I was not trusted at all. The Editors I ran into have seen over the years people like me come and go and probably suspected a hidden agenda or just somebody else that is riding on the hype. I wasn’t alone. There were a bunch and we supported each other, but we didn’t know what they knew.

    Non of the people from 1 year ago that were new as I was are around very much today. I told the Vets that I will prove them that I am not a one-day fly and here to stay and I proved it to them. This earned me the respect and trust of some of the ones that were “against me” back then.

    I accepted most of the established rules but also challenged a few.

    I found others like me, people from the industry that did stick around. We help each other out and also watch each other. If you go a little overboard with something, you get a tab on the shoulder and a remark or question that makes you re-think and question what you just did and fix it.

    Germans were also in such position after the 2 world wars. In regions of great suffering because of German intervention did the Germans that came there to help, work and find friendship had to overcome mistrust and prejudice. “No, not every German is like the 100 Germans you have met in your live so far”. Really? Proof it! And that was what the Germans did and still do.

    That is the price you pay for the bad impression your peers left before you came. You also learn that you need to take an active role against the bad ones of your peer that undermine the effort.

    I spent more time and efforts at Article and User Talk pages than articles itself. I recommend to check the talk pages and also the edit history of an existing article you are interested in to learn about the past issues, ideas, discussions, conflicts and people that also have an interest into a topic like you do.

    Nobody said that it is easy, but since when are humans easy in the first place? right? 🙂

  19. Carsten,

    I understand that there are problems – I can only imagine what kinds of posts they see there – and as a general rule I think they do a great job of running their site.

    However, there is a BUT here … and that is that they asked for it.

    I don’t mean that in a bad way… but they are a community which wants, needs, and asks for contributions from people who feel they know something about a subject… They ask for user posts and entries, and thus their challenge is to control the content that is posted… I think it is key for them to do so while still allowing the freedom that makes social communities grow. (users love it.)

    That isn’t really my main point though… my comment covers really all of social media and communities… Whenever there is a community – there are moderators and leaders of that community. Bulletin boards, Message boards, social networks, whatever… they all have similar structure with moderators, etc…

    In my opinion, where those types of communities run into trouble is when the leadership/mods create so much of an internal political structure that they intimidate the very community that they need… It happens quite often – but when the users become intimidated… or they don’t want to deal with the cliques and politics… they stay away, they don’t post entries or whatever their role in the community is…

    So – for the new web 2.0 social network – the “game” is that each network must remain a “cool” place to be, a place where users WANT to be and participate… They have to feel as though they ARE the community – guided by moderators if need be… If users become frustrated with any network that they feel has too many confusing, non-posted rules or inside jokes/rules/politics… that 2.0 social network will fail in my opinion.

  20. Carsten,

    I understand that there are problems – I can only imagine what kinds of posts they see there – and as a general rule I think they do a great job of running their site.

    However, there is a BUT here … and that is that they asked for it.

    I don’t mean that in a bad way… but they are a community which wants, needs, and asks for contributions from people who feel they know something about a subject… They ask for user posts and entries, and thus their challenge is to control the content that is posted… I think it is key for them to do so while still allowing the freedom that makes social communities grow. (users love it.)

    That isn’t really my main point though… my comment covers really all of social media and communities… Whenever there is a community – there are moderators and leaders of that community. Bulletin boards, Message boards, social networks, whatever… they all have similar structure with moderators, etc…

    In my opinion, where those types of communities run into trouble is when the leadership/mods create so much of an internal political structure that they intimidate the very community that they need… It happens quite often – but when the users become intimidated… or they don’t want to deal with the cliques and politics… they stay away, they don’t post entries or whatever their role in the community is…

    So – for the new web 2.0 social network – the “game” is that each network must remain a “cool” place to be, a place where users WANT to be and participate… They have to feel as though they ARE the community – guided by moderators if need be… If users become frustrated with any network that they feel has too many confusing, non-posted rules or inside jokes/rules/politics… that 2.0 social network will fail in my opinion.

  21. Power corrupts. I made to friends more than once the comparison between certain developments in Wikipedia and Eastern Europe, yeah the communists that either settled for socialism with compromises or turned Stalinist which is a weird form of fascism. Power corrupted a few at the top who took care of the opponents eventually in an absolute way and kept the non-corruptible quite with a mob that does not understand what is going on and is easily deceived and manipulated. Having a population that is made up for the most part as something you can classify as “mob” is not limited to eastern Europe but a worldwide phenomenon. 🙂

    Anyhow, the system at wikipedia , after you remove the 100+ and rising number of layers of bureaucracy, is a working one. And the the less (wikipedia)”political” the issue the less layers of that bureaucracy you have to deal with. A lot of rules and guidelines (Wikipedia does not have many rules btw). do make sense if applied properly. Some editors just misunderstand some of them or interpret them in a way that seems to fit their agenda. Ignore them or beat them at their own game, if you come across them.

    The rest (and majority) of editors are pleasant to work with. Yeah it seems to be annoying from time to time, the “complaints” about the style, to commercial, reads like a sales copy (oops, old habit hehe), claims made without a reference or proof, messy structure, poorly readable because disconnected … but you know what, after you are done and through with that list, do you end up with a result that is actually worth to be a bit proud of.

    I know that SAM will love this comment hehe.
    What’s your take on that? 😉

  22. Power corrupts. I made to friends more than once the comparison between certain developments in Wikipedia and Eastern Europe, yeah the communists that either settled for socialism with compromises or turned Stalinist which is a weird form of fascism. Power corrupted a few at the top who took care of the opponents eventually in an absolute way and kept the non-corruptible quite with a mob that does not understand what is going on and is easily deceived and manipulated. Having a population that is made up for the most part as something you can classify as “mob” is not limited to eastern Europe but a worldwide phenomenon. 🙂

    Anyhow, the system at wikipedia , after you remove the 100+ and rising number of layers of bureaucracy, is a working one. And the the less (wikipedia)”political” the issue the less layers of that bureaucracy you have to deal with. A lot of rules and guidelines (Wikipedia does not have many rules btw). do make sense if applied properly. Some editors just misunderstand some of them or interpret them in a way that seems to fit their agenda. Ignore them or beat them at their own game, if you come across them.

    The rest (and majority) of editors are pleasant to work with. Yeah it seems to be annoying from time to time, the “complaints” about the style, to commercial, reads like a sales copy (oops, old habit hehe), claims made without a reference or proof, messy structure, poorly readable because disconnected … but you know what, after you are done and through with that list, do you end up with a result that is actually worth to be a bit proud of.

    I know that SAM will love this comment hehe.
    What’s your take on that? 😉

  23. I have seen many online social communities that were dominated by egocentric leaders who, as Brian mentioned, began to intimidate members and drove them away.

    Without tossing out too many names, the one big community I saw this happen in was the ODP. The senior editors became so unreasonable that they drove out a lot of good, talented editors trying hard to be involved, and I can only wonder why they acted the way they did? I wonder if it has changed there, or is it the same old thrashing pit? After the experiences I had there, I rarely go back.

    Anyway the Wiki seems to be different, and it is a world above the ODP. I think people in general respect it for what it obviously tries to be, and online authority authored by all of us. I really hope it continues to grow and prosper without too much “authoritarianism”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism
    Authoritarianism describes a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of a state or organization, often maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measures. Authoritarian regimes are strongly hierarchical.

  24. Franklin,
    Wikipedia is more vast. There are a lot of places to “hide” from the authoritarianism. It’s there but not overly dominant. Chances are that you not come across them if you edit around in topics that are less popular. Popular in a good or bad way. The Editors at DMOZ I chatted with in October were much nicer than the ones I had a discussion with in 2002 or 2003.

    I applied as editor for some Internet marketing related areas, but that application is down the drain. Shawn is doing a good job as editor of the Affiliate Marketing Category. Good stuff in, junk out.

    I am an Editor at Skaffe for the English Text Art Category, but there is not much to link to and I don’t add to guys that use some software to convert images to text and put them up on the web next to AdSense Ads. I still have not found a companion blog about this topic for my personal blog.

    p.s I am also an ACTIVE Wikipedian. I thought I might add that so my comments are understood with this fact in mind. 😉

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