Wikipedia Editor Treats Danny Sullivan Like a Spammer


Looks like Danny Sullivan headed over to Wikpedia and added some links including one to his site on their page discussing SEO which only had links to search engines. This did not sit well with a wikipedia editor which removed the links and sent Danny their form letter saying "Please do not add commercial links". Danny responded with a well-written email that points out some issues with Wikipedia including the fact that search engines are commerical sites. Luckily they posted his email message. I hope you have as good a laugh as I did. IMHO this is as funny as the Adsense rep calling John Battelle.


"Googleating"? That

"Googleating"? That wikipedia page is a joke

Honestly, it's enough to

Honestly, it's enough to make you weep. I applaud Wikipedia's general intentions, but this is a stupid decision, made by someone I suspect of not knowing much about SEO. If they did, they would know that the enclyclopedia style store of knowledge they want is worthless in the SEO environment : by the time the article is typed in, it's out of date.

SEO is an evolving discipline, and SEW is one of the most visible places to watch it evolve, and get involved. I accept that Danny is going to be biased, but he was perfectly correct, IMO.

Can you paste live stock tickers into Wikis? I think there should be one for each of the majors (hell, include ASK, they have a measurable %age) added to the SEO sections, just to make the "commercial" point clearly :)

I added my own little rant.

I added my own little rant. Not sure if it will sink into the thick skulled editor, but it felt good nonetheless.


What the hell is that?

Clearly, the "no commercial links" concept is pretty stupid. If a site is a valuable resource, if a link to it improves the wiki article, it ought to be there. The problem is that the people who are there to determine whether or not an edit is worthwhile aren't necessarily experts on the subject of the article, and that's a big problem.

They ought to have a policy that stipulates that editors should check with someone else before they remove anything but the most obvious spam, but of course that would further slow things down over there.


Can't anyone make changes to these pages? Just start editing or adding links...

well I think they are

well I think they are convinced that anything related to seo is spam...that article/topic is just permanently doomed to the shallow ignorance of a few Wikipedia editors.

I am sure there are probably thousands of other topics that read that way as well, to others who know as much about some other subjects as we do about search / seo.

I can understan their motives

They don't want the site to be inundated with links from people promoting their sites, most of whom would generally believe that their sites should be listed. It's just plain easier for them to exclude all commercial sites (inasmuch as they can).

It's an alternative to having the whole site inundated with junk links. Unfortunately it is clearly not ideal. Any page that is defining or discussing SEO should definitely refer to the #1 authority on the subject.

False Positive

In the era of spam, I think people have just gotten more inclined to give the notion of guilty till proven innocent. Our junk mail filters out good e-mails while Wikipedia will filter out good links.

Their intentions are good 99% of the time, but sometimes they just get too thick headed to take advice or outside opinions. The fact is that a guy like Danny should be able to write anything he wants on that page and be given free reign to post information on the subject. Hopefully Wiki opens their minds a little here and steps back to allow some much needed editing to that page. As of right now, that page is an absolutely horrible resource.

PersonallyI think the problem is ..

..with the "senior" editors in places like DMOZ and Wikipedia.

Whilst I would concede that I am an "editor" at TW, it tends not be be the sort of power that senior people get on the above.

Jimmy Wales is an ex-ODP editor, and a critic of them who looked for an alternative. From Wikipedia

One noteworthy critic of ODP is Jimbo Wales, who occasionally contributes to the Yahoo Group that Liftarn refers to as an "ODP hate group." Jimbo is not a "disgruntled" former editor, nor does he identify himself as a frustrated submitter. Rather, Jimbo states, "I'm not anti-ODP, except that I think it's time for a good competitor to emerge. What I mean is, I don't like their hierarchical structure, I don't like their non-free license, but I hold no hostility towards them."

Jimbo, at the start appeared to be trying to build something without the inherent editorial problems of DMOZ, but as size has grown at Wikipedia, those same problems appear to be occuring.

Basically instead of attracting the "experts" as editors, Wikipedia to has attracted "funcionarios", many with no real knowledge.

Basically instead of

Basically instead of attracting the "experts" as editors, Wikipedia to has attracted "funcionarios", many with no real knowledge.

I think that is going to be a problem with any social community driven site...those that know the most also typically have far greater respect for what they do not know and some of them may be a bit passive. Whereas just knowing a little bit is enough to have an impact if one is aggressive enough.

Interesting comparisons to DMOZ

I was thinking sorta the same thing, the DMOZification of Wikipedia isn't too far off. There is already an obvious competition to DMOZ, Makes me think also, is to DMOZ as Squidoo is to Wikipedia?

Just Another Reason

Why I loathe the Wackypedia.

They should get together and have sex with DMOZ editors and completely mess up the gene pool beyond repair.

Outside Links


I notice at the bottom of a lot of the Wikipedia pages they have section called "outside links". How does one get deemed worthy to have a link in this section?


Outside Links in Wikipedia

I am sure that Graywolf won't mind me droping a link to his blog on how to get links in Wikipedia

That doesn't make sense

That doesn't make sense. Why doesn't Danny Sullivan himself an entry?

It is clear that the editors

It is clear that the editors know nothing of seo. They cut out part of the article about how 85% of website traffic is generated from search stating that

It reads like an advertisement for a SEO-company, but perhaps someone can salvage something from it.

They don't have a they?


My sites certainly don't get 85% of visitors from SE's. That would be too vulnerable. Even as an average number I could perhaps understand 50% but not 85, that's just way too much.

YMMV, of course.

But, that said, they don't really seem to know much about SEO at all. That's bad because they clearly turn aginst it by default because of ignorance.

No, they don't have a clue.

No, they don't have a clue. This comes up every so often over there, the last time about a year or so ago.

I think it was Danny who interjected a short note at that time recommending WmW and a couple of other 'authority' sites: "Ooh, there's an advertisement in the upper right-corner of this site. Don't know if we can have that, seems too commercial."

Not sure what makes a site or person an authority over at wiki-world. DS is the go-to guy for media and tech reporters, not sure how many don't have his number in their Rolodexes. Heck, the poor wiki-folk are even discussing whether or not to include Matt Cutt's blog.

I think cornwall's 'functionarios' and Aaron's 'just knowing a little bit' sum it up quite well. Not a clue.

They decided NOT to include

They decided NOT to include Matt Cutts blog (too spammy?)

It seriously is laughable and for the first time I am beginning to wonder if wikipedia WILL go the way of DMOZ...

Believe it or not

they tossed me out for spamming, once. OK, OK, it was more than one submittal, but they held court only once. I'd posted in the "outside links" sections to a directory I'd built. But they got in a big squabble amongst themselves and couldn't decide whether directories were content. In the end, they split on the issue and about half my links stayed and the others were nuked.

Wikipedia IS the new DMOZ

So get your free accounts while you can cause people ended up auctioning their DMOZ accounts - who knows, it might be a good source of income some time...

Well seriously, the thing about controvercy is understandable but why don't they let people who actually KNOW something about the topic say something without their prejudice and labelling everything spam?


I like deleting sh*t in Wiki and replacing it with my more quality sh*t. ;-)

They let me

I made an edit to the SEO article months ago, and it's still there: 11:44, 17 December 2005 (hist) (diff) m Search engine optimization (?History - Replaced alt tags with alt attributes)

That's right. I changed a whole word and nobody tried to stop me.

Obviously you can't trust anything there

Reading the SEO info at Wikipedia, and seeing how awful and inaccurate it is has made me assume that anything I read there has to be suspect and is probably wrong.

There's just no way that Wikipedia can be a credible resource for anything, or at least we could never trust that is.

Although, my 12 year old son edits some areas over there (not sure which), and he's a pretty smart kid, so maybe there is some useful info? ;)

It's not all shit...

There's just no way that Wikipedia can be a credible resource for anything, or at least we could never trust that is.

NFFC will probably look down upon me for this, but... I think there are large parts of it that are useful, but as you go more toward commercial or controversial ideas the whole Wikipedia model falls apart.

I also sorta look at the Wikipedia similarly to how I look at book and product reviews on Amazon. Many times almost everyone will love a product and then there will be one or two people who say it is shit and teaches poor form or lacks depth and substance. Much of that is just controlling expectation though, and in most any subject there are going to be subject matter experts that know far more than the Wikipedia (or the average book author). The Wikipedia is still a good spot to start learning from in many areas, although the whole model does limit the quality of information, especially in commercial or controversial subjects.

I'm sure it's not *all* shit

The problem is, if you don't know about a subject you'll really not know if it's shit or not.

The other problem is that kids are using it for school projects and stuff and god only knows if they're actually learning accurate info.

But a lot of it is shit.

Afraid I think a great many categories are.

Editors ride shotgun over "their" pages. You may not think something is controversial, but on closer inspection a lot is. It is quite subtlety done.

For example, I suspect most TW readers have not much info on the County of Cornwall in the UK. But the info in Wikipedia is slanted by a (probably only one) Cornish Nationalist editor there. The information on the use of the Cornish langage, famous Cornish people, etc is slanted.

Few are going to bother to correct it (certainly not me), and that becomes what Wikipedia readers take to be the facts about Cornwall.

It was fine when Wikipedia was read by only a handful, but today, as it comes high up on serps, I find it sort of scary.

Who writes history ? - Wikipedia editors with little knowledge and/or an axe to grind.

Who writes history ?

Who writes history ? - Wikipedia editors with little knowledge and/or an axe to grind.

But I think that is a problem search engines faced with ALL information providers.

Most of the people putting forth serious resources to create information do so because they want easy money, notoriety, or are biased and want to send their message far and wide.

Worse yet, information that is highly biased is going to have readers which subscribe to the ideas on the edges and also pass along the message or cite the resource to reinforce it's authority and quality. And many people will even search in a manner that will aim to bring back results that show their bias.

I think search in general allows us to pick whatever biases we would like to believe.

I have asked a number of search engineers how they counteract business models and motivations for creating content which are both typically going to lean in the favor of highly biased stuff and really haven't got much of a response other than search engines try to mix up the variety of biases in the SERPs.010010

They decided NOT to include

They decided NOT to include Matt Cutts blog (too spammy?)

There is a whole wikipedia page on Matt:

Maybe Danny Should have just edited the page about the ex F1/ CART driver, and hijacked it to be about himself....


missing the point

As has been discussed before, the major point is that Wikipedia wants to assume the content of the web, not link to it. It is re-stated clearly in this section discussing Danny Sullivan.

So if you want to spam Wikipedia, you need to add content (not references nor links). Once that is accepted, if you did a good job ;-) then the content you added (and everyone accepted) will be pleading for external links, which you can happily provide.

You certainly need to grow beyond the fundamental theories, principals and practice of guestbook and comment spamming to crack wikipedia, as I *know for fact* several people on this forum already know. Think think think... SEO is about strategy followed by tactics... you all can do better than try and insert links into existing content.

Wikipedia is not commited to the WWW as established, but follows a new paradigm of content incorporation more akin to the Google cache and the ODP directory than an "online encyclopedia". From my perspective, if they don't know anything about SEO, that demonstrates a perfect opportunity to get content/backlinks into wikipedia.

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