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Water Cooler


Water Cooler Miscellaneous   post
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Linking

If there is room for my 2 cents in this discussion, here goes: I disagree with encouraging an Internal links sections in main space articles. It is just duplicating what Wikipedia does and is, non semantic. The ASK query function promotes users to tag there own articles appropriately to automatically get displayed on main space (a thing of beauty). This should also motivate users to create main space articles and add an ASK query. See Cigarette with the Attribute:Keyword query. The search engines are working in some way that is not completly understandable to us. The engines will catch up or they already have. The more comfortable users become with semantic tagging and start imagining all the endless possibilities:

  • more page creation
  • longer visitor lengths
  • more traffic
  • higher page rank
  • higher site rank
  • a successful semantic mediawiki

If all of this happens then one backlink at Centiare is golden.--OmniMediaGroup 07:39, 16 January 2007 (PST)

SATIRE ALERT!!
Nobody asked you your opinion, Omni. If you continue to butt in on our Talk page discussions, we will ban your account. We are trying to build a directory, here. ...Oh. Wait. Sorry. This isn't Wikipedia, is it?  ;-) --MyWikiBiz 09:59, 16 January 2007 (PST)

Marketing & Promotion

Background

With continuing reports of dissatisfaction amongst wikipedians, it's becoming more evident that Wikipedia's business model is fundamentally flawed. Without the ability to protect one's contributions, and/or debate in a fair and rational manner without undo favoritism given towards certain (cabals of) editors, the incentives to create original content becomes somewhat muted.

We feel Centiare addresses these main points by providing both protected Directory space for advocacy and traditional main space NPOV. Even better, via the Aficionados mechanism, we provide a legitimate means of allowing users to cross-reference interests/contributions from main space articles to directory listings. In this way, Aficionados eliminate the temptation for main space link spam and/or other commercial activities, and helps keeps main space articles clean and on-point.

Given Centiare's technical (semantic tags, protected space) & policy advantages, we feel it's the proper time to discuss what marketing & promotional efforts might be undertaken to increase overall awareness. The remainder of this section is an open forum to discuss ideas, initiatives and other activities. Snerfling 13:25, 3 March 2007 (PST)


Spring 2007 - Organization/Association marketing

It is my goal to contact at least 500 different organizations and associations that aggregate the types of entities who would be welcome at Centiare (e.g., Little League Baseball, the American Dental Association, League of Women Voters, etc.) I want my message to be clear and three-fold:

  1. The organization should have its own article within the Centiare Directory Space (e.g., Directory:American Dental Association)
  2. The organization should contribute to relevant articles within the Centiare Main Space (e.g., Dentistry, Bruxism, Gingivitis)
  3. The organization, once it sees the benefits of Centiare and its inherent advantages over Wikipedia, should encourage its members to create their own Directory articles (e.g., Directory:Delores M. Dains, DDS, Directory:Monarch Dental Associates)

For each of the recipients, it is my intent to customize the letter so that:

  • The recipient is already identified as the Communication, Marketing, Electronic Media, or Public Relations contact at the organization.
  • Each letter will be customized very deliberately, as in the American Dental Association example immediately above.

I will post the text of my planned letter very shortly, and then the Centiare community can help improve it for the next day or two. At the same time, I'm going to create a link where Centiare "worker bees" might recommend future organizations and (especially) the contact info of the appropriate person at the association. That's going to be the most tedious part of this campaign. As we get underway with the mailings, I will also plan to follow up with each recipient with a telephone call, approximately 2-3 days after they should have received the letter. --MyWikiBiz 21:20, 4 March 2007 (PST)

Since you're the expert on military history, you well understand the importance of momentum. Wikipedia seems to be garnering more criticism each day; check out this article from the New York Times. Now is the time to make people aware of the numerous advantages Centiare provides. Snerfling 07:46, 5 March 2007 (PST)

Form letter 1

Please take the liberty of wiki-editing this proposed form letter that would go to organizations and associations who would benefit from involvement in Centiare space.


+CONTACT+
+TITLE+
+ORGANIZATION+
+ADDRESS+

Dear +CONTACT+,

According to comScore, nearly 165 million unique visitors made use of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia in the final month of 2006. As the +ORGANIZATION+’s +TITLE+, I’m sure you’re well aware of your group’s own article on Wikipedia, but did you know that:

(a) You are not allowed to edit the article itself?
(b) You can’t respond in the article space to other editors who might push an opposing agenda or a critical point of view about your organization?

These seemingly necessary abilities are strictly forbidden by the Wikipedia management and community. My partners and I feel that Wikipedia is, therefore, flawed in that it has an inherent (if not pernicious) bias against businesses and organizations. That’s why we’re constructing -- with our own out-of-pocket resources -- an alternative wiki directory called Centiare.com. Centiare welcomes and encourages organizations like your own to come and tell your story the way you want it told. Without sounding too much like a sales pitch, I want to make 3 things perfectly clear:

  1. The +ORGANIZATION+ should have its own article within the Centiare Directory Space (e.g., Directory:+ORGANIZATION+). You can start that article today.
  2. Your organization is welcome to contribute to relevant articles within the Centiare Main Space (e.g., +EXAMPLE1+, +EXAMPLE2+, +EXAMPLE3+).
  3. Once +ORGANIZATION+ sees the benefits of Centiare and its inherent advantages over Wikipedia, you should encourage your members to create their own Directory articles (e.g., Directory:+EXAMPLE4+, Directory:+EXAMPLE5+) to support their own agendas.

While Centiare is not as mammoth as Wikipedia, we are growing by leaps and bounds because we offer many more technological advantages than Wikipedia, including Semantic Web architecture (which makes Google search results prioritize Centiare listings), user-protected space commingled with community-edited space, and the ability to embed videos, document downloads, and even advertising on our pages.

I hope you’ll join this new wiki revolution by registering an account for your organization -- for FREE -- at Centiare.com. I will be giving you a brief call in the next few days, to answer any questions you may have about our new directory.

Sincerely,

Gregory Kohs
Co-Developer of Centiare.com
greg@centiare.com
Cell: 302.463.1354

Form letter 2

This is a second attempt. Trying to stay on point, and deliver the clear message of our business proposition. Thoughts & revisions are welcome.


+CONTACT+
+TITLE+
+ORGANIZATION+
+ADDRESS+

Dear +CONTACT+,

According to comScore, nearly 165 million unique visitors made use of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia in the final month of 2006. Doubtless, many of these people are searching for information about your organization. As the +ORGANIZATION+’s +TITLE+, I’m sure you’re aware of your group’s own article on Wikipedia, but isn't it frustrating that you don't have control over the content presented in that community-edited space?

My partners and I feel that Wikipedia is flawed in that it has an inherent (if not pernicious) bias against businesses and organizations, and that its so-called "facts" can't really be trusted. Fortunately, there is now a better way for organizations to capitalize on the wiki information revolution. We've built an alternative wiki directory called Centiare.com. At Centiare, we welcome and encourage organizations like your own to come and tell your story the way you want it to be told.

Centiare offers a quick, easy way for you to create a high-ranking Directory listing that you control. And, it's absolutely free to use.

Without sounding too much like a sales pitch, I want to make 3 things perfectly clear:

  1. The +ORGANIZATION+ ought to have its own article within the Centiare Directory Space (e.g., Directory:+ORGANIZATION+). You can start writing that article today.
  2. Your organization is welcome to contribute to relevant articles within the Centiare Main Space (e.g., you can give our visitors your perspective on topics like +EXAMPLE1+, +EXAMPLE2+, +EXAMPLE3+).
  3. Once +ORGANIZATION+ sees the benefits of Centiare and its inherent advantages over Wikipedia, you might even encourage your own members to create Directory articles for themselves (e.g., Directory:+EXAMPLE4+, Directory:+EXAMPLE5+), to support their own business missions.

I hope you’ll join this new wiki revolution by registering your organization -- for FREE -- at Centiare.com. I will be giving you a brief call in the next few days, to answer any questions you may have about our new directory.

Sincerely,

Gregory Kohs
Co-Developer of Centiare.com
greg@centiare.com
Cell: 302.463.1354

I doubt this letter will get results

Who is the target audience? Specifically, who is the contact within each organization?

What will motivate THAT PERSON to participate in, and even promote an online directory?

Your criticisms of Wikipedia resonate with people who have had run-ins there, but they are meaningless to the vast majority of people.

Your discussion of the advantages of your semantic tagging approach will again be meaningless to most people, other than hard-core techies.

I realize that you feel strongly about these things, and they are important in the long run... but they do not make an effective marketing pitch.

Wygk 11:51, 5 March 2007 (PST)

Thank you for this feedback, Wygk. Not having much experience at all in direct marketing, I have similar doubts as you. The target audience is any trade association or structured interest group that has a wide swath of members, and which has a "message" that it wishes to communicate to the world about its membership. I did give a few examples above.
The contact within each organization will be very important. I feel that each letter must go to someone who is named as the Director or Manager of Communications, Marketing, Electronic Media, or Public Relations for the entity.
You were a bit short on alternative solutions, Wygk. Do you think it would be better if I called people FIRST, then used a letter as a follow-up? Better to get a more famous "spokesperson" than myself? Better to give a "case study" example?
More help is welcome! And, of course, there's always the "trial balloon". We can mail this letter + phone call option on about 20 recipients, and see what kind of response we get. --MyWikiBiz 11:54, 5 March 2007 (PST)
I think a marketing patch should usually focus on the value proposition (what's in it for the customer?)
As I see it, your value proposition is to provide a quality listing in a new, high-ranking directory, where the company, organization, or person has control over there own entry.
You could ADD another value statement by making it really quick and easy to create a listing. The Wikicompany forms are very similar to what I had in mind.
The semantic tagging feature is another value statement, but very few people are going to understand it... so don't muddle the message
In short, the pitch to organizations and their members should be: Centiare offers a quick, easy way for you to create a high-quality directory listing that you control. Wygk 12:07, 6 March 2007 (PST)
So you like the Wikicompany forms as well? We could do something like that to create an initial entry which could then be edited/refined. However, a big drawback with forms is that it distorts a key advantage of Wikipedia or Centiare, namely that it's completely free-form. Once you begin directing user content, then by definition, you will typically get what you directed.
It's why the Wikimedia Foundation seemingly backed off on their Wikidata project (correct me if I'm wrong). It's just counter-intuitive to a wiki environment. In our case, directory listings include any entity (person, place or thing) that has a legal standing. So what should be included in a form, or do we now need multiple forms? You see where this leads - people then need to be informed that there are different forms, etc.
I'm not sure sure that we want to take a direction away from the traditional infoboxes - it's why we use them. The professional look & feel one can achieve in a very short time is unsurpassed. Certainly, no one can create a look like that in a LAMP environment in such a short time.
My background is with structured data, which is why I embraced the MediaWiki platform. The poor overall look & feel of Wikicompany is a good example of what happens when efforts are extended in data collection/validation as opposed to presentation.
My feeling at this point is that we're dealing with a market awareness issue, not a usability problem. I should mention that we have a custom user class level called vusers that gives them the ability to make edits of directory listings without impacting their overall protection scheme. In this way, we have a couple of wikipedians helping out by providing editing services to others that don't have the skills necessary to pull together a really professional looking listing.
You would be an excellent candidate for this class level if you're interested. Snerfling 15:15, 6 March 2007 (PST)
I happen to think that we have as much a usability issue as an awareness issue. We have had about 150 users register an account (that is our base of "interested awareness"), but 80 of them have not made a single edit, another 35 have made less than 5 total edits, and only about 12 or 13 unique people have made more than 20 edits. If less than 10% of our registered accounts are really availing themselves of content creation, we are facing:
  1. An initial market of 90% "non-savvy" wiki coders
  2. A failure to communicate the benefits of listing content
  3. Not doing enough to "win back" dormant accounts
Take, for example, the fact that I have pitched Centiare to my 30+ MySpace friends, and probably 30+ additional e-mail friends. I think two people have registered from that communication, and neither of them have built out content. When I describe the site in person, for instance, at a party -- people seem to think it's a good idea. But ask them, "Have you ever edited Wikipedia?" and you get either "No, I've looked, but not edited" or "What's Wikipedia?".
I think we just have to keep plugging away until we hit that critical mass (hopefully close to simultaneously) when enough new businesses, organizations, people, and zealots want to be a part of Centiare every day; but those who are intimidated by "doing it yourself" will have a choice of paid assistants to serve them (a la MyWikiBiz or Page Creations). If wikis do start to take hold in the American office space, we will surely get more capable "do it yourself" users (and evangelists) from that realm. --MyWikiBiz 20:22, 6 March 2007 (PST)

Make it Viral

Time and time again people with NO talent have 1,000,000 video views on youtube because they dance with muffins or flap their man titties to celine dion. That's hella exposure with no time or skill investment.

I'm going to buy my own damn centiare t-shirt one of these fine days (Spring break is next week) and talk some big titted dumb blonde into trying to touch her elbows together behind her back while sporting the logo. Maybe have her writhe around on my sex-on-wheels new car to whitesnake's her I go again (like Tawny Kitaen) 50,000 page views garunteed. It will only target generation apathetic youth but hey look what young people got started in the 60s. Word of mouth is everything. Garrett 14:09, 5 March 2007 (PST)

Who's the market? Do we want Wikipedians adding Main space content? Or do we want businesses adding directory content? Or a little of both? Is there a technical hurdle that we're not addressing (like input forms), or is something as simple as brute force marketing (BFM)?
I want to believe that it's BFM because it takes me off the hook. That is, it implies we've done our job by providing an excellent array of technical features presented in a very professional environment. If it BFM, then do we do crazy ass sh!t like you're suggesting, or continue our sincere efforts at alerting business users to the opportunities? Snerfling 16:47, 5 March 2007 (PST)

Grand Idea

Brute force marketing first off to attract the page views, then a super easy to find and understand slogan type sound byte to say "centiare listing = high google search". Finally accessibility is limited to wiki geeks which account for .000000000001 percent of the population and even less of the business culture.

When creating an article the template is a great start but something more familiar to the average lay person is needed. On most good sites, amazon for example, to set up an account there are fields to type in (like wikicompany is trying and failing to do).

Instead of an add a free listing have a "get started today" or "Register with centiare"

Page one - enter a valid email address, and a click box (I would like to recieve centiare newsletters and press releases)

Then a continue to step two button with a page X of Y at the bottom, similar to when I "build my car" on honda.com.

Page Two - A basic form like on wikicompany.com that allows users to just fill in the fields. Once they finish

Then page three where three options appear.

1. contact a professional. List wiki developers than can boost the rankings and qualities of their listings (i.e. me)

2. Start the centiare tutorial. Create a super simple attribute

3. No thanks, just show me my listing.

Then a final away message "Thanks for creating a centiare listing"

Input Forms

OK, I'll take a look at putting together an input form similar to Wikicompany. I don't want to start creating multiple forms since that will just put us right back in the training->learning curve arena. What I'll do is utilize the generic Attribute:Common Name to capture any name used, whether it's a business, NPO, personal, etc. I'll round out the form to capture some address information and that should be that. The user and/or editor can always come back and clean up and/or flesh out the entry by adding infoboxes, etc. Snerfling 21:18, 6 March 2007 (PST)

Let's 86 the form idea. I don't like it anymore. To much of a possibility for crappy looking pages. Garrett
While I agree the pages won't look too swell, I disagree with nixing the idea. I think the forms will appeal to (hopefully) half of the 70% of our users who seem to be registering and not doing ANYTHING. I know, it's like asking to do a "paint by numbers" portrait of a sailboat when you have an hour's private lesson with Pablo Picasso. But, if we can appeal to more users, that's what we should do.
I think it will help us to get quantity, and eventually, as the users mature, there will be more careful development of their pages -- either by themselves, or as a result of accepting "offers" to do so by MyWikiBiz or Page Creations types of stylists. --MyWikiBiz 15:07, 8 March 2007 (PST)
Admittedly, any form driven input will fall far short of the type of professional looking pages one can render at Centiare simply due to its fixed/static nature. I still thank our lucky stars that we decided, as one of our top priorities, to meet/exceed the capabilities of Wikipedia. This, in essence, means a free-form editing environment.
That being said, I've come full circle and now agree with Greg that we should have a simple/fast input capability as well. Even better, it doesn't necessarily have to appeal to business owners. It could work just as well, given the right incentives, where there could be tens/hundreds of young entrepreneurs under Garrett's direction quickly inputting business listings.
What's the payoff? How about the inclusion of an optional field where one could enter their Google Adsense account? That way, a quick 7-10 data element (name, address, phone, NAICS, zip, etc) entry could be made along with the originators' Adsense ads. To take it one step further, I could add other additional fields for interests, which then would be linked via aficionados from any Main page articles.
IOW, it would incentivize, in the same exact method as the Belgium Bomb, the rapid build out of content. Except in this case someone could probably add 15+ entries per hour instead of one. Snerfling 17:31, 8 March 2007 (PST)

Scope?

Suppose we had a bunch of farmers on here who create pages about their business and what they do. If they wanted to use MyWikiBiz to conduct B2B business, like selling, or organizing labor, would that be within its scope? What if they wanted to advertise positions? What is the scope of MyWikiBiz? Remi 13:49, 29 August 2008 (PDT)

Farmers, textile mill workers, astrophysicists... I don't care. Anyone is welcome to use this wiki directory as a forum for marketing, trade, or labor. My only caution: we are somewhat limited by the twin nature of our Directory Space (closed to one registered author per page) and Main Space (open to any author) pages. There's no convenient way to "limit" a set of pages on MyWikiBiz to a finite "group" or "community" of selected members. It's either one or all may edit, in Directory or Main space, respectively. For finite groups of members who which to collaborate, without interference from the "outside world", I do recommend WetPaint.com] as an excellent resource. -- MyWikiBiz 19:01, 29 August 2008 (PDT)