New Research Reveals Secret Behind Wikipedia’s Success

Wikipedia is the best example of a content management platform that has thrived purely on efforts of thousands of volunteers. According to reliable estimates, nearly 80,000 volunteer Wikipedia editors actively contribute to the platform by adding and creating new content. As such, there are nearly 25 million individuals who have created 5 million entries in a period that spanned more than 14 years, since 2002.

For researchers, it seems impractical to build such a large knowledge database without providing any incentive to create a Wikipedia page. However, individuals from around the world are making active contribution without getting any reward or acknowledgement. This operational model, without incentives and rewards, continues to amaze researchers.

Two professors, Stephan Seiler, an economist and associate professor of marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Aleksi Aaltonen, an assistant professor of information systems at Warwick Business School may have unlocked the puzzle. Their research, published in the Journal of Management Science, revealed that the secret of Wikipedia’s success are large number of Wiki edits by volunteers who regularly make changes to the Wikipedia entries. After analyzing 1,310 articles that were edited nearly 63,000 times between 2002 and 2010, the research concluded that for every content that is deleted, writers add five times more content to individual Wikipedia articles. Despite the fact that individual entries are only 37 characters long, which is less than an average tweet, the sheer number of Wikipedia revisions consistently fuels the site.

According to Stephen and Aleksi, the research is important for many organisations who have built similar Wikis to Wikipedia. These organisations follow the same format as Wikipedia pages to generate and share content.

Due to the advantages brands and businesses receive when they make a Wikipedia page, several prominent firms offer consultations on creating, editing and uploading content on the website. By coordinating with several editors and writers, these professional agencies can save time to manage Wiki entries. For instance, Get Your Wiki, is one of the popular firms that work with clients to create Wikis. Accordingly, these Wikis can be used to improve brand reputation or even tackle negative publicity on the Internet. Using the power of Wikipedia and hiring Wiki editors, organisations and individuals can improve their image and tackle any negative publicity on the Internet.