Does Your Law Firm Have a Wikipedia Page?
If you thought a Wikipedia page was only for the really famous or really accomplished, think again. These days, many law firms are staking out a presence on the collaborative online encyclopedia. And as the U.K.'s Law Society Gazette suggests, a Wikipedia page, done correctly, can help enhance a law firm's brand and broaden its online visibility.
Wikipedia's reach as an encyclopedia is unparalleled, according to the Gazette:
Wikipedia is one of the largest reference websites -- 684 million visitors yearly. For a sniff of its power, whether you like it or not, cogitate on this snippet from the New York Times 'Bits'
technology blog on 30 March, entitled 'Microsoft Encarta Dies After
Long Battle With Wikipedia': 'Microsoft delivered the coup de grâce
Monday to its dying Encarta encyclopedia, acknowledging what everyone
else realised long ago: it just couldn’t compete with Wikipedia… In
January, Wikipedia got 97% of the visits that web surfers in the United
States made to online encyclopedias, according to the internet ratings
service Hitwise. Encarta was second, with 1.27%.' That's how powerful
And as the article points out, a number of top 50 U.K. law firms have Wikipedia listings, though most are so bare bones that they hardly have an impact on the brand. These firms are "passing up a free, global promotional platform that trainees and young lawyers and clients will, for good or ill, treat as a 'go-to' source."
Simon Fodden of Slaw.ca isn't so sure that Wikipedia listings are as indispensable as the Gazette suggests. Fodder writes:
I'm less convinced that a Wikipedia page is a necessity. After all, if your firm comes up top in a Google search for key components of the firm name, the curious will go to your firm’s website (which is another story altogether) for information. There is, however, the possibility that it won't come up first and that a Wikipedia page about the firm will be near the top. As well, some people go to Wikipedia first or right after Google to flesh out their understanding.
Even more important, though, is that if there is to be a page about your firm it be edited by your firm. Although a moment's thought will make it clear that because anyone can create and edit a page on Wikipedia (more or less) there's no necessity that any page about your firm will be written by people with the firm’s interests at heart or with the requisite knowledge, it's still likely to surprise some lawyers that there could be information out there about their firm that is wrong if only because it is outdated or insufficient.
Like the Gazette, Fodden also found that many of the Canadian sites listed on Wikipedia aren't very useful. As for sites of U.S. law firms, why don't you see for yourself?
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 29, 2009 at 03:52 PM | Permalink
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