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With the rise of social media, it's no surprise that online reputation monitoring has been a growth market. Knowing what consumers and customers are saying about you on the internet is extremely important.
Generally, sites like Twitter and Facebook get the most attention when it comes to reputation monitoring but there's another site that may be even more important for brands to keep an eye on: Wikipedia.
Wikipedia, the human-edited online 'encyclopedia', is often used as a go-to source for 'facts' even though it's often not the best source for them. It also has SERPs that most of us would kill for.
These two facts make Wikipedia a potentially problematic beast for brands. Just ask companies like Coca-Cola, Nike and WalMart, which have had to deal with Wikipedia attacks. Some brands finding themselves on the receiving end of criticism via Wikipedia have, naturally, alleged that misinformation has been promoted. In the worst case scenario, such misinformation is picked up but a reputable source, such as a newspaper, essentially turning fiction into fact.
So what can brands and prominent individuals do? A new service called wikiAlarm claims to be the first alerts service dedicated solely to monitoring Wikipedia pages and sending alerts when tracked pages are updated.
The process is simple: sign up, add the Wikipedia pages you want to track to your account and receive emails when updates are made to those pages. Email alerts detail that changes that were made to those pages, making it easier for recipients to determine if a change needs to be dealt with. Multiple recipients can be added to email alerts, making it easier for teams to manage the monitoring process.
Right now wikiAlarm is free, but I'd obviously expect some paid features to be developed if it gains traction. In the meantime, add it to the list of free and low-cost reputation monitoring tools that are giving brands the ability to listen to the good, the bad and the ugly.