The Funnelholic “How-to” guide to getting jacked by Wikipedia

WikipediaImage via Wikipedia

First allow me to describe my morning timeline lead-in to this post:

9:00 AM: Buy Blue Bottle Coffee (yes, it is very trendy…but completely legit coffee)
9:15AM: Read my morning email newsletters
9:20 AM
: Excitedly but suspiciously open the Marketing Sherpa newsletter email entitled “Wikipedia as Lead Gen” (really excited, I love that kind of stuff…still worried its some bait)
9:21 AM: Bated breath, open How to Use Wikipedia Entries for Lead Gen – 6 Steps to 18% Higher Conversion Rate. Love the title man, I have hope that this going to be a great article.
9:21 AM: Begin reading the article, it is legit.  The story of how a technology company, Attensa, in conjunction with its Agency, Anvil Media, was able to use Wikipedia for b2b lead generation.  It is a classic Marketing Sherpa study, with the whole scenario set up and real quotes from the Director of Marketing and his agency.  The Results were exciting:

  • 4% increase in site traffic
  • 4% increase in leads overall
  • 65 leads per month on average from Wikipedia
  • 18% higher conversion rate for Wikipedia traffic

9: 25 AM: I read it and am excited.  This is something new I can blog about…really cool innovative stuff.
9:27 AM: I hit the SEO experts I know:

  • Funnel: “I have got something you guys have never been able to hit, Wikipedia.”
  • Top SEO guy: “No you don’t”
  • Funnel: “I’ll send it”
  • Top SEO: “Do it, and I bet you $100 it doesn’t work”
  • Funnel: “Done”
  • Ten Minutes later, TOP SEO via email: “Number One: go look for them on Wikipedia and number two: $100 via Paypal”

9:37 AM: I realize that in my wild excitement, I never checked to see if it was still up on Wikipedia – it isn’t.  Then I start to read the comments…comment number 1: Jul 23, 2008 – Gregory Kohs of says:
“Good luck with future success, now that you’ve exposed yourself and the Anvil Media agency. I have a lot of experience observing what you tried to do here, and I guaran-damn-tee you, this isn’t going to end pretty. Wikipedia is going to decimate your efforts. It’s a shame, of course, but them’s the facts. More discussion on this article at:
9:38 AM: Then see comment number 2: Jul 23, 2008 – Gregory Kohs of says: “You all realize, I presume, that this article led to the complete roll-back of everything Anvil Media and Attensa had accomplished on Wikipedia?”
9:39 AM: I feel bad for Attensa and their agency Anvil Media.

The simple two-step how-two guide to getting slammed by the Wikipedia police:

Step 1: Try to game Wikipedia – Wikipedia is policed heavily to keep spammers out of their kingdom and while I know Attensa would not consider what they did spam, it is to the  Wiki-world.  And they are watching…

Step 2:  If you manage to successfully game them, then publish your strategy and results on the internet – Writing an article on Marketing Sherpa is essentially goading the Wiki-police into putting a match to anything you have done.  See Attensa.

The moral can be summed up by the final comment on the article page:

Jul 28, 2008 – Peter of Entra Marketing Ltd. says: “Memo to self – spend more time improving my business, traffic, conversions, and less time telling people (and especially highly trafficked marketing information websites) how I do it :)”

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • Your lessons are simple and true…having been on the business end of those insights. I’ve blogged about our “Wikigate” experience here:

    While I understand and respect Wikipedia’s policies, they are becoming less relevant every day. If they do not adapt, they may find themselves in the back seat behind Google’s NOL.

    Rest assured we’re no longer pursuing a Wikpedia strategy, and sure as hell aren’t going to talk about it. My desire to share a good story and a few insights surely didn’t turn out the way I’d expected.

    The good news: we’ve generated a handful of fantastic leads from the coverage, which I owe to Gregory and our editorial friends at Wikipedia. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

  • Kent Lewis and I have exchanged e-mails, and I hope that he and everyone who has read about us does realize, I was totally in Anvil Media’s corner. I’m pleased as punch when anybody can exploit Wikipedia to their own benefit, as that is exactly what its co-founder Jimmy Wales does on a daily basis (see: Moscow massage parlor, $100,000-per-day speaking fee, thousands of outbound links from Wikipedia to Wikia, etc.).

    The only thing I did was point out the fact that the excellent Marketing Sherpa article was like Anvil and Attensa swallowing a live grenade. The only question was whether the thing had a 5-second fuse or a 10-second fuse. It was going to end the same damn way, regardless of whether I pointed it out publicly or not.

    Anyway, as usual, the Wikipediots will have once again successfully pushed underground a commercial enterprise that was seeking to contribute to the project in a mutually-beneficial and above-board manner. They know it’s happening every day, they just don’t want it flaunted in their faces.

    You want a funny follow-up? Look at the early history (December 2005) of this article:

    Then look at the self-promotional puffery of Wikipedia User:Elonka:

    Now, ask yourself why Attensa and Anvil got nuked, but Elonka’s still very much in business on Wikipedia?

  • Marcomqueen

    Ouch. What a post and what a comment string. I am not nearly as versed as the last two guys, so no value-add from me…You just need to know I forwarded this around. Best, most interesting post for the

  • seodogs

    HA. wiki-revenge.

  • Susan Thompsen

    Unfair. Any other sites like wikipedia that have tight community policing?

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  • Steve Lilly

    What’s wikipedia?

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