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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wikipedia - Google's Anna Nicole Smith

Remember that old set of Encyclopedia Britannica you have... somewhere downstairs? growing mold? up high, on a dusty old, shelf? Remember that one?

Don't Throw Those Old Encyclopedias Away Yet!

It seems there's another juicy bit of controversy going around.

The case I'm about to make is SO nefarious and worthy of extreme scrutiny that I'm surprised it hasn't been raised before in much greater detail.

My Assistant

Beginning with Fantomas' Fantomnews, Ralph Tegtmeier refuses to pull punches in both the name and the writing of his article, "The Spammer’s Guide to Wikipedia Hacking", a pretty-much, tongue-in-cheek look at how Google blindly throws its ability to manipulate search rankings behind a site that is uber-ripe for gaming,

"If you though that Wikipedia was a mildly nutty but essentially benevolent amateur community effort at an unprecedented scale, leveraging the wisdom of crowds to create an immensely useful repository of human knowledge - well, there’s no need to rethink that view as long as you know that you’re dealing with a venture that’s wildly unreliable and inaccurate in too many respects to seriously compete with the professional setups such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and others."

Of course, I'm going to take it a step further and say that there's nothing mildly nutty or essentially benevolent about it. It's EXTREMELY nutty and very dangerous. In case anyone hasn't quite noticed, there's a cute little Kumbaya-type slogan on the very top of Wikipedia's front page that goes like this:

Just In Case You're Brainfogged By All the BS Floating Around the Net These Days, Let Me Spell It Out For You:


Remember that AT BEST, Wikipedia is that "mildly nut bunch of essentially benevolent amateurs"? Well, at worst, it's an "extremely nutty bunch of amateurs with a naiveté that is essentially dangerous." Just how in the heck do these nutty, naive amateurs imagine that YOU can change the world just by donating money? Even at its very outset, that premise is speculative and borderlines on the ridiculous.

In Fact, Guess Where I Got This

"Before one can engage in social engineering, one must have reliable information about the society that is to be engineered, and one must have effective tools to carry out the engineering."

If you guess Wikipedia, you get a cookie and go to the head of the class. More precisely, it was in a sub-heading of "Social Engineering" titled, "Social Engineering Through History". But doesn't it all just sound so nice?

wikipedia YOU can change the world on DIGG

But, one very astute Digger, in response to the Digg pictured above wrote,

I'm not quite sure developing countries need Wikipedia on DVDs.
I'm not quite sure how much different Wikipedia on a book is different from an encyclopedia.
I'm not quite sure how much information you'll be able to fit on a pamphlet.

So you see, when you're sitting at home feeling pretty much like a powerless geek, the mere idea that donating $5 to Wikipedia can somehow transform you into a revolutionary for social change is understandably attractive. But like our "comrade digger", we, too, can avoid being sucked into a "social engineering funnel" if we just take a few seconds to put our precious grey matter to use.

Do you understand? Even just for starters, it reeks of such incredible juvenile thinking. Is there anything wrong with Britannica other than it doesn't employ nutty people who are essentially naive about their pawn-like contribution to social engineering? Or that socialists everywhere hate the fact that Britannica is a capitalist company that pays taxes in the U.S.?

Slow and Steady Wins the Race and with a Consistent,
3,600 Alexa Ranking, Britannica Ain't No Slouch

What is the Best Online Encyclopedia?

Which Brings Us Back to Google:

The Company That Censored Search Results for the Government of the Peoples' Republic of China

If Wikipedia is so awesome, and so capable of changing the world - and if Wikipedia, due to it's SugarDaddy, Google, is experiencing an impressive Top 10 traffic ranking in Alexa, then why, pray tell, are there only 26,000 donations?

After all, WE can change the world, right? So why aren't WE?

I'm not quite sure developing countries need Wikipedia on DVDs.
I'm not quite sure how much different Wikipedia on a book is different from an encyclopedia.
I'm not quite sure how much information you'll be able to fit on a pamphlet.

I think it's a safe bet that there's a LOT more who aren't quite sure from where he came. Oh, I'm sure, when that first Wikipedia DVD hits the streets of Chad or Madagascar, there'll be no shortage of news-hungry outlets covering it, but will it really be changing the world? No, it won't. If it were... if it could, there'd be no need to reinvent the wheel. Truly benevolent, non-nutty minds would just go to Encyclopedia Britannica and impress upon them their concept of changing the world by spreading DVD encyclopedias all around impoverished nations (accurate, non-gamed encyclopedias, mind you). But it's not about changing the world. As you'll soon understand, it's about "dreaming about" changing the world.

Btw, isn't that why nutty people think radical Islamists hate us? Because we spread our influence all over the place in the belief that we're doing good?

Do Wikipedians think they'll want copies of Wikipedia DVDs in Saudi Arabia? Yemen? Syria? Iran? Maybe Al-Qaeda would be more accepting of Wikipedia's world-changing DVDs if only the U.S. would get out of Iraq. I'll bet there's a bunch that actually believe that.

The Truth Is More Likely That...

Anna Nicole Smith is Like Wikipedia
Wait, isn't that the Nazi salute? ;-) wouldn't matter if, even a year after this article, there were 100,000 donations made to Wikipedia. Because, if we take the quote with which Wikipedia so kindly provided us earlier...

"Before one can engage in social engineering, one must have reliable information about the society that is to be engineered, and one must have effective tools to carry out the engineering."Social engineering (political science)

...we can begin to see why Google plays J. Howard Marshall to Wikipedia's Anna Nicole Smith. Wikipedia doesn't know jack squat about the society that is to be engineered (in this case, the whole world). But once again, we have to thank those mildly nutty, borderline dangerous, naively manipulatable bunch of Wikipedians for helping us find a quote to couple with the previous one:

"Social engineering (security) is a collection of techniques used to manipulate people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. While similar to a confidence trick or simple fraud, the term typically applies to trickery for information gathering or computer system access and in most cases the attacker never comes face-to-face with the victim." Social engineering (security)

And that, of course, is where Google comes in.


Some may chalk it up to a difference of styles... or "professional courtesy", when well-known personalities in the SEO world acknowledge such odd results in a more toned-down or tongue-in-cheek way:

"By fixing the above issues, they may very well rank for the remaining 11 keywords." Aaron Wall, When Will Wikipedia Rank for Everything?

"From my perspective, there may be slightly less of an incentive for spammers to hit Wikipedia pages in the short term, but no less value to serious marketers seeking to boost traffic and authority by creating relevant Wikipedia links." Randy Fishkin "Wikipedia Finally Makes the Right Decision"

But, you see, this isn't just SEO - this is big-time social engineering on the part of Google. Rather than BUY Wikipedia, which they can't anyways, and screw it all up with their "Do No Evil"-style of evil, they just get Wikipedia drunk with lots of Google juice. And just like J. Howard Marshall gave Anna Nicole money and Howard K. Stern (allegedly) gave Anna Nicole drugs, none of them really cared WHO she slept with as long as she'd flash them her ta-tas once in a while.

I'll say it again - Google doesn't care about you. The only thing they care about is serving ads - the more targeted the better. And as long as all the mildly nutty, essentially benevolent, little do-gooding Wikipedians think that their 26,000 donations "to-date" are going to help them spread Wikipedia goodness all throughout Chad and the Ivory Coast, then we can thank them for helping Google to better "serve" (read: game) us.

food not bombs but not dvds either




Sam Freedom"s Internet Marketing Controversy Blog

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Dennis Edell said...

I don't get how wikipedia ranks anywhere for anything. From what I understand, they serve nothing original, but instead they're just a big collection from across the net.

How is that different from one big scraping site?

Sam Freedom said...

It's called MONEY.

bluefrogx said...

There are increasing available copies of Wikipadeia available for download on mobile systems though, and I think this is a good thing.

Sam Freedom said...

@BluefrogX Ok, but why do you think it's a good thing. Or even more good than if Britannica did it?

In light of the fact that Wikipedia can still be gamed and abused in a way Britannica can't.

And how is it a good thing in light of the social engineering as presented above... it's not as if that is benign, or merely neutral. And having it on mobile phones would change the world how?

Ask yourself who can and can't afford mobile phones. And who, even with a mobile phone, would use Wikipedia anyways? Are we to believe kids are suddenly going to start reading encyclopedias because we've found ways to force an abusable encyclopedia onto cellphones?

Or that people who already have little time on their hands are going to suddenly find time to start reading Wiki on their phones?

I don't think so.

As regards Wikipedia's amorphous, abusable goal of "changing the world" it seems that having it on cellphones wouldn't reach those who actually need more information anyways.

Any conversation about this should include having non-abusable sources of objective information most available to those who can use it. If you're going to CHANGE the world via WIKI then it would seem improving the lot of 3rd world nations would be more important to do first so they could actually USE the information for the betterment of society and not for its destruction... that's IF they had a cellphone, of course.

Mike-HookahBreeze said...

Hey Sam. It's XMCP from slightlyshadyseo. Saw your comment, and you're right. You should definitely get a link here. Some of your posts definitely got my own mental wheels turning for my "Google Hates You" post. Just giving you a heads up

Igor The Troll said...

Good Ol Sam..:)

Does Life imitates Art or Art imitates Life.

Why are we bashing WikiPedia today, when we can sink our shanks into Apple, EvilGoogle, Bush and Bushets, or ven the New World Worder Hillary clan.

But you seem to pick Wiki, mind you not Twitter, so as Wikipedian I find a necessaty to defend my MotherShip...

WikiPedia is a Library, nothing more nothing less.

WikiPedians are Librarians, nothing more nothing less.

Have a nice day,
Igor The Troll

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