Wikipedia Initiative: Plan B

This is a quick follow-up on the Wikipedia initiative, which has proven to be quite interesting.

Yoocasa: my guinea pig.

Some companies are simply too young for Wikipedia. My first start-up to join the cause, Yoocasa, was removed after only a few hours. Sad, but true. Which is surprising because I have seen many companies on Wikipedia that don’t have any reason to be there other than they have made their own page (one SF company in particular I am dying to put here but then I’d be responsible for their page getting deleted).

A few things to remember.

Anyone that has noteworthy clients, references, stats or stories should have no problem being on Wikipedia – as long as they include them. Remember that Wikipedia is about links. It is a lot easier to delete information that is just floating by itself than something that is tagged in additional articles and perhaps includes additional links.

A little linkage.

Take for example French company Musiwave that was acquired by Microsoft for $46 million. No Wikipedia page – not even in French. However, if you search for Musiwave founder Gilles Babinet, he has a page. Naturally, one would assume then that all the companies he has been involved in (Eyeka, MXP4, Digicompanion) would have their own page as a result. Wrong.  The only one to have a Wikipedia page is MXP4 and it isn’t even linked to in his article.

2 sides of the same coin.

All the company links in his article (with the exception of Microsoft) link directly to the company page – which is another way to leverage Wikipedia for marketing. But in the case of Eyeka, a Wikipedia page was created and removed – because it was apparently considered to be too much of an advertisement.

Easier said than done: the French exception.

Oh yes, I almost forgot: French companies perhaps have to be somewhat more careful than others when creating Wikipedia pages because they are more likely to get accused of being advertisements. Kind of like what happens in the metro to innocent poster ads.

Obvioulsy we didn’t see Eyeka’s page before it was removed – it could’ve very well been inappropriate for Wikipedia. But this is perhaps why French companies should definitely pay extra special attention to what info they decide to include and how they link the page to other pages.

Now for Plan B: Crunchbase.

I still encourage all French companies to try Wikipedia because a deleted page leaves you no worse off than before. But for anyone that is in search of a Plan B, apply to Crunchbase – which is likely to be a little more friendly to baby start-ups than Wikipedia.

The French Start-up Wikipedia Initiative

Far from anything being discussed at SXSW, this is a quick post on something I just noticed:

There are a lot of French start-ups that are MIA on Wikipedia.

Obviously it’d be great to develop some kind of French start-up database, but let’s first concentrate on the basics: Wikipedia.

Yeah, so?

Hopefully I don’t need to convince anyone what this is good for. But just in case, search for Sequoia Capital or Benchmark Capital; you’ll notice that not only do they have a page but their companies do too. In fact, the marjority of their companies that do not have Wikipedia pages are in the electronics, energy or health sectors (ok, I admit it, I’m rather shocked to see that companies like Trulia and Storwize are slacking too).

Playing follow the leader.

As for France, of course some of the big names, like Deezer and Dailymotion, already have pages – in French, English, Italian, you name it. But most of the 196 French start-ups I have on my Twitter list are yet to make their Wikipedia debut. The list is too long for me to even point fingers!

Oh, French VC firms, this includes you, too.

Someone was kind enough to throw all your names into this article but hardly anyone has a proper page. Even a link to your website would be sufficient at this point.

Ode to myself?

Yes, it is perfectly legal for a company to create their own Wikipedia page – I checked. Note that I’m not asking anyone to step out of the Wikipedia comfort zone for self-promotion. Keep it simple, keep it factual, keep it neutral. Minimal info is OK, remember it’s an encyclopedia. Some people will think that smaller companies shouldn’t have a page on Wikipedia unless it involves a monumental story or event – I’m not so sure I agree. If a product of a site exists, why shouldn’t it exist on Wikipedia? Other downsides involve the possibility for negative content (so keep an eye on your page). At worst, the page will get deleted by meanies and then you are no worse off than you were before. Voilà.

The goal: March 24.

Since March 24th is TechCrunch Paris, I thought it would be a good idea to encourage as many French start-ups as possible (especially event attendees) to create a Wikipedia page before this date, if they feel it would be reasonable. After all, a name or two may pop up in an article here or there and wouldn’t it be nice if the random person on the other side of the world could get just the basic 411 on what the company does? It’s a temporary fix to translating info on a website as well.

The French start-up Wikipedia Initiative.

So I hereby announce the French start-up Wikipedia initiative. Hopefully French start-ups will also be kind enough to tweet their Wiki creations or even post the link below. Feel weird about making your own? Ask someone to do it for you. And should any start-ups like someone to glance over their English translations, please don’t hesitate to contact me.