As the UK’s foremost professional Wikipedia editor, potential clients often ask me, how do I get-round Wikipedia’s notability requirements? Are there any loopholes for creating a company Wikipedia page?
Luckily, Wikipedia contains many loopholes. But first, one must understand the concept of notability.
Internet fame is not a prerequisite for Wikipedia notability or creating a company Wikipedia page
Contrary to popular belief, Wikipedia does not contain information on absolutely everything. Instead, editors compile subjects from sources which they collectively deem reliable. Sources can be newspapers (excluding celebrity gossip rags) and books (excluding self-published eBooks). (Broughton, 2008)
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” – Andy WarholeThe Sixteenth Minute by Jeff Guinn and Douglas Perry.
The above quote appeared in the programme for Warhol’s 1968 exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Factually, it’s not a direct quote. Interestingly, the German art historian Benjamin H. D, Buchloh claimed that a breakdown in the way society measures fame might cause everyone to be famous briefly.
Intriguingly, the 2000s and 2010s saw an increase in fame but a decrease in the time spent in the spotlight. Internet sensations come and go within hours. Presently, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and viral hits may enjoy brief periods in the spotlight. For example, does anyone apart from BuzzFeed remember Egg Boy? Probably not.
Are Internet celebrities good subjects for company Wikipedia pages?
Internet sensations make appearances in mainstream media, particularly the tabloid press or breakfast TV. Unfortunately, such coverage rarely extends beyond the event.
You’ll find an Internet celebrity in the small market town of Whitchurch. Jackie Weaver works for the Cheshire Association of Local Councils as a referee for village council meetings. In February 2021, she became a Internet famous after dispursing a virtual riot in a Parish Council meeting.
Consequently, breakfast TV slots and YouTube reaction videos followed. Yet, despite bringing joy to the Internet and gaining coverage in multiple reliable sources. Being famous for a single event does not make someone notable. Alas, not as far as Wikipedia is concerned. Wikipedia editors are the proper authority on this.
If Weaver were to sign a deal with a major publisher. Or maybe, compete in a major sporting event and win a Nobel Prize. In this instance they might qualify for a Wikipedia page. If like most Internet celebrities, that person is only notable for one event, Wikipedia may have a redirect page instead. Unfortunately, redirects send users to the page about the ssubject’s famous event. Namely, William Connolly redirects to a section of the Wikipedia entry for EggBoy’s nemesis and victim, Fraser Anning.
Being relevant in your field doesn’t necessarily make you Wikipedia notable
Having journalists quote an expert opinion from you. Or, having an employee comment on a trending topic is an excellent way of showing that you are relevant. Yet, bylines and mentions do not translate into encyclopaedic content. There’s nothing for Professional Wikipedia editors to dig into or grab hold of.
I have seen many copywriters, PR professionals or “professional Wikipedia agencies” attempt to create content based on bylines or mentions. Their recipe looks something like this;
Source A: One Mention in The Financial Times.
B: A By-line in The Sunday Times.
C: A Soundbite on BBC Evening News.
Statement X: “So-and-so is often called upon by the press to talk about such and such as a leading authority in their field.” – ProCreativeWriter97
The above statement too vague for an encyclopaedia. Also, it combines sources A, B and C to synthesise a piece of original research: statement X.
While synthesis is a staple of poetry, blogging or journalism, Wikipedians class synthesis as original research. Unfortunately, for paid Wikipedia editors writing business Wikipedia pages, Wikipedia only publishes secondary research.
How can professional Wikipedia editors create pages for notable companies without getting caught?
Moreover, Wikipedia editors can easily spot paid editors because they source content from bylines, mentions, and weak primary sources. Useless Wikipedia sources include podcast blurbs and Amazon buy links. (Nikesh Joshi, 2020)
Wikipedia sets the notability threshold a little higher for company pages
Unusually, Wikipedia is both a general encyclopaedia and a subject-specific encyclopaedia. Indeed, Wikipedia includes subjects that meet a subject-specific notability guideline (SNG).
I often refer to SNGs as loopholes because editors exploit them to create articles about subjects that fail general notability. However, due to Wikipedia’s suspicion of the public relations industry, there are no SNGs for organisations. Meaning, your business must be generally notable for a page.
Yet, many Wikipedia notability loopholes exist for people. For example, if your CEO won a significant award this might qualify them. Alternatively, if you hold a named chair, that might qualify you.
If you think you might meet Wikipedia’s notability guidelines, then you should get in touch with me for a notability assessment.
My notability assessments take two hours, cost £120.
Broughton, J., 2008. Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. First Edition ed. Sebastopol : Pogue Press .
Nikesh Joshi, F. S. M. G., 2020. Detecting Undisclosed Paid Editing in Wikipedia. New York , Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 2899-2905.