If you manage a brand of any importance, it is highly likely that the Wikipedia page pertaining to your brand is in the top search results at all the major search engines.
In April 2007, I studied the top 100 brands identified in the well-reputed Business Week list. Brand-related Wikipedia pages ranked an average of four on Google searches and five on Yahoo searches. This high visibility coupled with the aura of objectivity and authority that Wikipedia pages exude can mess up your online brand strategy.
Brand websites exist to build and reinforce a carefully crafted brand message, create a vivid brand personality, educate consumers about product benefits, build brand affinity, increase consumption and facilitate the creation of a brand community. Wikipedia pages have the potential to screw up the message and muddy the brand image that firms meticulously try to construct online.
Author notes: Sandeep Krishnamurthy is associate professor of e-commerce and marketing at University of Washington, Bothell. Read full bio.