Is My Company Ready for Wikipedia?
Wikipedia can be an intimidating and confusing world for those who haven’t had an in-depth engagement with its inner workings. We are frequently asked, ‘Why was my new article on Wikipedia about my client/organization rejected?’ Your company or client may think they belong in Wikipedia. But how do you know if they meet the standards for inclusion?
Wikipedians selected the word “notable” to describe topics that should be included in the world’s most-read encyclopedia. They could have said “famous” or “well-known” but they settled on “notable.” The dictionary meaning: “worthy of attention or notice;” “remarkable.” The volunteers who run Wikipedia have continually debated how notability can be established for individuals and organizations. Generally, they have raised the bar over time.
We at To the Point Collaborative have closely monitored this ongoing debate for a decade. To help folks decide whether they should start an article about a person or organization, we extracted the following 5 standards that topics need to meet as a sort of litmus test. Keep in mind that starting an article about someone or an organization that you have close (or financial) ties with is very difficult these days.
- Range of media coverage. You need to meet a certain, though not specific, range of media coverage. We have segregated media coverage by importance in our Notability Pyramid. Basically, articles in national/international media have highest value, regional/local media and some industry media are next, with community news sources and local radio and TV stations, and very specific niche publications, at the bottom of the Pyramid.
- The 65% rule. For articles to support notability, at least 65% of the article must focus on the topic you wish to elevate to Wikipedia. Trends pieces and roundups don’t help much.
- Widespread coverage. You can’t base notability on lots of coverage of single events, such as earnings reports, CEO resignations, a one-time scandal, or response to a national disaster. Media needs to have written about the entire company–its history, what it does, who runs it, its successes and failures. Persons generally are not notable due to a one-time event, although the bar is certainly lower in some cases.
- Standing tall. A company or person must show some measure of importance or metric of success, such as annual revenue, personal wealth, acknowledged stature within a group, etc. We think companies with $50 million or more have a shot at notability. Note: Just because a person has a ton of social media followers does not mean they are Wikipedia notable. That’s not media coverage.
- Longevity. Companies need to have been around for at least four or five years, notable persons in the news for that long or longer. Startups have little chance of making the cut these days.
As with any rules, there are exceptions to the notability criteria. But if you want to do a litmus test on a person or company, the above five criteria will give you a baseline for notability.
Before you test your results by starting a new article, though, we highly recommend you contact To the Point Collaborative and have us review your person or organization. We are experts at evaluating subject matter notability for Wikipedia. We’ll help you answer the question: Is my client or company ready for Wikipedia?
What you can do to determine if your client or organization is Wikipedia ready
You most definitely can contact To the Point Collaborative and engage our Wikipedia experts to handle the job. We can assess your client or organization for notability for you. Contact us at info@tothepointcollaborative to get started.