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15 August, 2005

Redefining spam

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about companies using contrived 'information' entries to promote themselves via Wikipedia - blatent spam, really.

As Boing Boing reports, the BBC has been accused of doing much the same thing, in a viral marketing campaign for an online game.  The BBC denies involvement (I'm not saying "they would, wouldn't they?" – I believe them), but one side effect is that a pro marketer has admitted abusing Wikipedia for viral marketing.

I can't say who I am, but I do work at a company that uses Wikipedia as a key part of online marketing strategies. That includes planting of viral information in entries, modification of entries to point to new promotional sites or 'leaks' embedded in entries to test diffusion of information. Wikipedia is just a more transparent version of Myspace as far as some companies are concerned. We love it (evil laugh). On the other side, I love it from an academia/sociological standpoint, and I don't necessarily have a problem with it used as a viral marketing tool. After all, marketing is a form of information, with just a different end point in mind (consuming rather than learning).

Bollocks.

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