Lundquist’s analysis of Wikipedia’s articles on major European companies shows that Nokia, Vodafone and BP have the most complete and authoritative pages. The study also revealed that quality is improving, despite concern about Wikipedia’s ability to draw a sufficient number of editors and ensure accuracy.
Out of Europe’s top 100 listed companies, Nokia was found to have the most informative and functional article, scoring 23.25 points in Lundquist’s evaluation protocol, which has 30 criteria and allows for a maximum score of 25. The page on Vodafone totalled 23 points and the one on BP 22.75. The general improvement was underscored by the fact that, taking into account the 79 companies that were covered in Lundquist’s previous survey in early 2010, the average score jumped to 17 from 13.5 (+26%). The most improved pages were on Nordea Bank, UBS and Rio Tinto.
Lundquist’s research showed that the best corporate entries in Wikipedia are generally underpinned by an active and diverse community of editors: that is to say, Wikipedia works best when it succeeds in its mission of being a collaborative encyclopaedia. For example, the winning Nokia page was updated on average every 21 hours in 2011 and 4th-placed Tesco every 16 hours. By contrast, the worst pages in the study were barely active.
But Wikipedia includes some glaring disparities in the quality of corporate information, including facts about financial performance, board members and criticism. Worryingly, one in three of articles had some kind of “alert”, signalling shortcomings such as a lack of neutrality or the need for fresh information.
The collaborative online encyclopaedia is the fifth most visited site on the web and has become a fundamental part of companies’ online reputation; in many cases it is the first stop for people searching for corporate information. This presents a challenge for companies that must understand Wikipedia and its rules better and find a way to engage with its community with the shared goal of improving the quality of the pages.
It is a common misconception that companies have no role to play on Wikipedia because the site’s content is user-generated. Though companies are often strongly discouraged from editing their own articles, there are many other ways for them to interact and represent themselves on the encyclopaedia. Lundquist has developed an engagement model for companies to facilitate co-operation with the Wikipedia community, learning to interact directly with its editors and allowing good collaboration in keeping the information updated.
Lundquist assesses company pages on Wikipedia as part of its various research series into the quality of online corporate information. In 2011-2012, the Wikipedia project took into consideration 291 publicly traded European companies, organised into five rankings: a Europe-wide project based on companies in the FTSE Eurotop 100 Index and country rankings of the biggest listed companies in Austria (forthcoming), Germany (forthcoming), Italy and Switzerland.
Top 10 Wikipedia Pages on European companies
(maximum = 25 points)
1. Nokia (23.25 points)
2. Vodafone (23)
3. BP (22.75)
4. Tesco (22)
5. Rio Tinto (21.75)
6= Philiphs (21.50)
6= Unilever (21.50)
7= UBS (21.25)
7= Deutsche Bank (21.25)
10= GlaxoSmithKline (20.75)
10= Royal Dutch Shell (20.75)
To read more: Wikipedia Research Europe 2011 Executive Summary
See the results of the previous edition: Lundquist Wikipedia Fortune Global 500 Research 2010 Executive Summary