Category Archives: DCOT Digest

Online reality games

Online reality games. Online reality games (ORGs) are social internet games based on popular reality television programs, such as Survivor and Big Brother. These games are run by other enthusiasts who try to create an environment similar to the television show by presenting challenges and tasks to players who compete much like the players in televisions shows to be the last person standing.

The first known index of games, eGame-Central, was created in the summer of 2001 and since then has closed and many other indexes have opened and closed. These games had a large following for many years but due to the decline not only in reality television in general but also its aging fanbase and several closures of the main indexes. However, things have been getting better for the ORG community. Many sites have opened, and seem to be running smoothly and may keep going for a while.

The name Online Reality Games (ORGs) is not to be confused with the index of the same name Online Reality Games (ORG).

History

With the popularity of Survivor many fans of the shows went online to message boards in order to create their own version of the show. However a man named Steve decided to unite that community together and create the eGame Central. This first known index was opened in late summer of 2001. eGame Central which was owned and mainly operated by the site administrator Steve. Steve managed a weekly top twenty countdown and eventually acquired a staff to perform such tasks as awards, interviews, newsletters, and moderating the board used for advertisements. While on top of its popularity, another index named Online Reality Games opened and was run by site administrator Robert and his staff. Slight controversy surrounded the dueling indexes as some of the sites traffic preferred one or the other or simply never visited one index over the other. However Steve encouraged Robert to continue his index.

Other controversies at eGame-Central occurred one summer when Steve left the community for work and the staff wondered whether to make their own index or wait until Steve’s return. Another controversy at eGame-Central included several site members to accuse Steve to favor the staff in the Weekly Top 20 and the awards. eGame-Central closed over one year later on March 22, 2003 leaving the web site and forums static. Many members abandoned the community, switched to the Online Reality Games index, and several created little known indexes themselves.

The only slightly successful new community was eSquared Gaming. This index was run by some of the old staff members of eGame Central. The new site worked so that all the staff members could update the site, unlike eGame Central where only Steve could actually update the main site. eSquared Gaming was not without its own problems with its ever changing staff and had a hard time updating. eSquared Gaming ran from March 31, 2003, days after eGame-Central closed, to November 7, 2004 after a failed attempt to merge with the Online Reality Games index. Online Reality Games, or ORG was subject to attacks like site hacking, identity theft, etc. but still managed to stay online for three years after several re-openings and site overhauls.

However, a few days after its third year, Online Reality Games closed once and for all. With another index closing the Online Reality Gaming community took a huge hit. Many disappeared and the remaining members fled to smaller indexes or the pre-existing Fantasy Games Central (which focuses more on posting games rather than the traditional Online Reality Games). The most successful community since the close of ORG is Virtual Eyes, which is owned by a person named Fiona, became the new index where games and most of the online community transferred. Many other smaller indexes were created between the closing of eGame-Central and the opening of Virtual Eyes but none have been successful and closed after a few weeks or months due to inactivity. Many veteran players insist how weak and quiet the community is today.

Although the community is a lot quieter than it once was, some very successful ORG communities still exist today: Most notably The Idiot Box and Fantasy Games Central. The Idiot Box was a site of quiet beginnings, formed first in 2006 when the act of playing ORGs on TV.com, a popular television website, was banned. A group of very dedicated ORG players from TV.com then decided to make their own website on which to play their Online Reality Games. Thus, TV NAIE, the original name of The Idiot Box was founded by its original creator, John, and run by him along with a panel of elites. John ran TV NAIE with an iron fist, and the community continued to grow while hosting many different types of reality games, including a few of it’s own creations such as Battle Royale.

On the website’s 1st birthday John, with help from real life friend Kilo, surprised the community with its own domain name, making it an official site rather than a proboard. Although this new site began to grow rapidly, a dispute between John and Kilo ended in the deletion of the site and John’s desertion of the community. The community, now much larger than it originally was, looked for somewhere to go, and The Idiot Box was it’s answer. Kilo decided to help the remains of the community, and formed a second domain site, The Idiot Box, run by the former elites that used to help John run the former site. Although this site had some rough beginnings, the community has again stabilized, and the site continues to grow. It has now hosted in total well over 50 Online Reality Games, the results of which are all kept in the site’s Attic and Hall of Fame. The Idiot Box offers a unique experience to gamers, a website where they can have confessionals and other aspects of ORGs that are not usually found in community based games. Also, there is a pool of spectating members that watch and comment on every game played, giving players the unique experience of being watched just as if they were on the real show. In addition, the site has recently developed a Points system, where members are awarded points based on their performance in games, and the overall points of each and every player is kept track of in a site-wide leaderboard.

Another site such as Survivor Sucks has the host find trusted players on the forum and gives them aliases as Survivors in order to play in a cutthroat version of Survivor

An up and coming ORG site is Super Reality Games Online. SRGO offers a variety of people and games and has features such as karma meters, top ten posters, elections and much more. There are also testing grounds where anyone can host a game. In the past two months the member base has grown significantly. There are many games based on Hell’s Kitchen, Survivor, The Amazing Race, America’s Next Top Model, Big Brother, and many others. SRGO is a fast-paced community site with multiple games going at once.

Some sites have an award system to reward it’s players on several good qualities, like the Hall of Fame and ORGAs (Online Reality Game Awards) on The Idiot Box.

During the Amazon season of the CBS Survivor, a man named Brian Wind started a group at the Yahoo groups for the Officially Unofficial Survivor Elimination Game (SEG). The game was set up to coincide with the season of Survivor currently on tv and immunities were based on predictions of what would happen in the show and whenever a twist happened in the show, it would be duplicated in the game. SEG moved two more times before settling in its current Suddenlaunch location.

In 2003, online reality games started popping up on the popular diary site LiveJournal. It has now grown to be one of the fastest growing sites. It still has a relatively small community of players, but recently more hosts have started making games strictly geared for new players, so as to bring in a bigger crowd. The leading communities on LiveJournal are games_lj, bigbrother_lj, and survivorlj.

In late 2005, Jeff Heiser (a member of SEG) decided to branch off and form his own board called Reality Gaming Online, most commonly called RGO. Both the RGO and SEG communities have continued to grow as time goes on. Due to a strong sense of community and an emphasis on good sportsmanship, RGO and SEG members generally stick around the boards for long periods of time.

Indexes

Indexes are web sites that serve as directories to Online Reality Games. After creating a website or a message board a player either enters their website in a form to the site administrator or advertises it on the message board of that index.

The Host

The host of their own game creates their own website to showcase the players and give updates on the games process. These sites also contain links for the players so that they can access a message board where the host of the game can contact them and have them give their thoughts on how they are playing. Hosting ones own game requires the host to make an application and create all of their games challenges before the game even begins. The host is then supposed to run a fair game and keep the players up to date with challenges and voting.

While most Online Reality Games are based on TV shows many hosts make their own twists to keep the veteran players on their toes and more creative hosts make up their own game all together. Survivor, Big Brother, the Mixed Game, and the Mole are the most popular games that are played and created.

The Players

Hosts do their best in order to find a group of players who will be active in their game. These players are generally required to talk with the other players, compete in all of the challenges, and vote if they are required to. Many hosts go out of their way in order to get a group of active players and it is the player’s job to remain active without the game crashing due to inactivity.

Gameplay

These online versions of reality TV shows work in the same format as their source show would, with minor adaptations to suffice for the lack of physical presence in the game. Seeing as most Reality TV shows involve some sort of challenge or physical competition, ORGs usually have puzzles or tasks that can be completed online and either are required to complete before another team or teammate does or do not require one person or team to finish before someone else, but rather finish with a higher scoring than someone else. Examples of such a competition include online versions of an arcade game and trivia-based knowledge games. More creative hosts make up their own challenges and require the player to work as a team to finish a puzzle they created or even use statistics and themed based challenges in order to make the games more cutthroat.

Players in the game usually use some form of instant messaging like AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo Instant Messenger to maintain contact during the game, making alliances and manipulating relationships, parallel to the methods used in Reality TV Shows.

Most ORGs create their own website to showcase the players and give updates on the games process. These sites also contain links for the players so that they can access a message board where the host of the game can contact them and have them give their thoughts on how they are playing.

Some sites have incorporated a money system to reward players for winning in their various ORGs and Game Shows. Players may use the money to buy things for their profile and do other things to add uniqueness to their profiles.

After the Game

In some instances, ORGs are held privately on websites where only the players have access, so that written episodes can be formulated afterwards, making the experience of the game even more parallel to the actual shows. As time progressed writing episodes became less popular since mostly the players wanted to know what happened and others outside of the game could care less.

The hosts did a big reveal at the end of the game giving up confessionals and instant message conversations to give the players a fair look at what people did and how they were thought of. At this time the winner is announced and the host announces his or her next game.

Causes for Decline

One of the leading causes of the decline of ORG players is the closing indexes however there have been several instances where certain ORG indexes have been attacked, causing some of the community to be driven away. Some may conclude that these “attacks” are a driving force to why ORGs have declined in popularity. The most major of these attacks caused an outbreak of panic during January of 2005 when a group of ORGers attacked the Online Reality Games forum. They had deleted every single post and deleted every moderator. After a week the site was back up but it was greatly damaged. Another case, as yet unproven, is the hack of the Virtual Eyes index. A popular theory is a former staff member allegedly gained access to another administrative account and deleted all posts and accounts. “Atom” and “Fiona”, the other administrators, linked the IP address with that of the hacker, however it is not concrete proof decidedly either way. All allegations have been denied by all person(s) allegedly involved.

Criticism and Common Practice

Though many indexes are criticised for favoring the hosts own games in awards and rankings many actual games are criticised themselves. The games cannot be sanctioned at all for fairness and no moral guidelines exist for hosts so players sometimes put their fate in the hands of the hosts hoping that the host gives them a fair and just game.

However hosts are criticised for playing as someone in the game, cheating for another player, giving up confessionals and private conversations, or making up the game on the fly in order to twist things up. As a common practice hosts are supposed to create all twists and challenges before the game even begins but are often accused of making them up as the game progresses.

Other problems include players with pre-existing relationships (including relationships outside of the online world) from other games either helping them (with pre-made alliances) or hurting them (a player from another game wanting revenge) and caused several games to require everyone to play under aliases or players themselves change their name in order to give them a fresh start.

Many sites also required an age limit for their game in order to make sure they had a mature cast. Usually 13 and under were given a hard time in the community and disliked for their attitude. However players older then 30 were also criticized due to their being older then the average member of the community.

Real Contestants

Players from actual reality television shows have appeared in Online Reality Games and some have played a few even afterward. Rafe Judkins, 3rd place in Survivor’s eleventh season, Guatemala, played in Survivor: Sri Lanka. However the episodes were not released or finished after episode 2, so there is no way in knowing how far Rafe got. Rafe also played in Survivor: Holidays season 1. He played under the alias of Chance and received 2nd place.

Coby, from the season of SURVIVOR: Palau appeared in foulmouthedleon’s game of SURVIVOR: Japan in December. He played as himself, and was an early merge boot.

Darci, Cealey, and Lilly from Endurance: High Sierras have played several online Endurance games before. Cealey and Darci played Endurance Athens: Extended Stay together, and Darci played Endurance Senegal with Lilly. Darci also played in Endurance: Anguilla. Darci has played many games and is one of the most well known fans (and now contestants) in the Endurance online community. Frank from GVB:Montana played in a Moolah Beach online reality game and won.

Bill McDaniel, the mole from season two of the series, appeared for a guest spot during –an ORG based on the show.

E-Visibility

E-Visibility. E-Visibility refers to the ways by which the customer can enter a website. This makes the presence of the website in the minds of the customer.

Introduction

Different ways of advertising a web presence and getting customers in through the door includes:

  • Site Name
  • Conventional Advertising
  • Portals
  • Malls
  • Search Engines
  • Links
  • Personal Recommendations

Site Name

The surest way of finding an e-commerce site is the URI. If the URI is simple and the punters can remember it, then the site is made.

A sensible simple site name can be guessed by users and might be easily remembered. One such example is britishairways.com. Here the name of website can be guessed easily so that it makes the visitors of website to access the site easily.

Conventional Advertising

An irony of e-Commerce is the apparent urge to advertise them through conventional media: in the newspaper, on the television and even on the carrier bags used in real shops.
Conventional advertising of internet addresses has a threshold effect:

  • It boosts the image of the organisation and any conventional facilities it might have- it gives an air on modernity and high-tech.
  • It lets the customer know that the organisation has internet facilities
  • It can give users access via the URI. A little difficult if it is a complex URI that is flashed on a TV screen or is printed on a bag that has been thrown away.

Portals

On loading the browser and connecting to the web the user is presented with a first page. This page is the portal, the place from which to access the facilities of the internet.

The portal is a valuable piece of property. It is the one place through which all users are likely to pass. An advert on a popular portal is the web equivalent of a TV advert at half time in the cup final – it is seen by millions. An advert on a popular web search engine is a similar piece of property.

Adverts on the portal can be banners, little boxes or background. Portals provide a menu of services and inclusion in that list is another way of picking up business.

Malls
An internet shopping mall models itself on the conventional shopping mall, a lot of shops, under one roof with a pleasant shopping atmosphere.

To own a shop in a conventional mall is usually a good way of getting noticed by customers.

The intention of an internet mall is the same, hopefully the customers who have been there before come back again, look around, see new shops and the interest in the location increases to the benefit of all the shops in the mall.

An Internet mall can, like its conventional counterpart, provide common services.

Possibilities includes the following:

  • Shared advertising – Publicising the mall and hence attracting customers to all the shops.
  • Common facilities – the mall will very probably provide the software to link the shop to the back office and facilities like security and credit card processing can be common.
  • e-cash – the mall can provide or join an e-cash service that is usable in all the stores.
  • Common customer files so that publicity can be sent out to a wide range of users.

Search Engines

A search engine is a standard way to find any internet site and that includes e-shops. A successful e-shop could do with appearing in that top ten list of hits whichever search engine the user uses and whatever relevant term the user might choose to search on.

A site owner, who knows the trick of business, can submit information to a search engine that ensures they get listed – some sites submit multitude of entries to ensure their prominence and to ensure that they would be found using a variety of keys.

The search engines list only a small number of the sites that are out there on the internet. About 15% of the web sites is all that the best of the search engines manage and as the internet expands, the task does not get any easier.

Links

Online adverts on the web are also links to the site – hypertext links. Links are included on a variety of other sites with a variety of deals being done. Some links are paid for, some are mutual arrangements and there are those odd individuals who just have to share their shopping experience with all.
Links can be a good way of getting customers better than rare hit and miss nature of searching.

Personal Recommendations

The final way of getting customers onto the site is the personal recommendation. The satisfied customer will bookmark the site, come back to the site again and recommend it to their friends.

Wiki Hounding

Wiki Hounding. Wiki Hounding is a behaviour where contributions to a wiki service by at least one person are reverted by at least one other person for reasons unconnected with the topic. It can also involve repeated criticisms of someone who contributes to a wiki platform, which can be seen as a form of cyber-bullying and in some cases cyber-stalking.

Wiki Hounding occurs a lot on Wikipedia.

How to lose your students in 30 seconds? Six Ways.

How to lose your students in 30 seconds? How about:

  1. I’ve not prepared anything. Let’s Google it together.
  2. PowerPoint slides per minute > 1 OR minutes per slide > 3
  3. Let’s (with no warning) get <random student> give the lecture/tutorial today, as presentation skills are TRANSFERRABLE skills. Alternatively, setting regular student presentations so you never have to lecture yourself.
  4. What does Wikipedia say?
  5. Sure, cut and paste off the Internet is fine in your essay. How do you think I prepared this course?
  6. Here’s some reading. I’ll be back in half an hour.

Further information

Doctor Mike Reddy is a lecturer at the University of Wales, Newport.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Having a Company Wikipedia Page?

Pros of being listed on Wikipedia:

The greatest benefit of Wikipedia pages is that they generally show up in the top results of major search engines, providing more exposure and potential credibility for an organization when searched. This can help build trust and legitimacy among those using the search engines to find information about a certain company. Because they appear almost always near the top of the search results, Wikipedia pages also push down other listings and can help reduce the amount of unwanted results such as negative news articles or reviews, if they exist.

It’s arguable whether or not you get any search engine optimization benefits from a listing on Wikipedia due to the links being NOFOLLOW (the search engines don’t follow them). Some studies have shown, though, that websites have seen traffic increases from listings in Wikipedia. It’s hard to believe that search engines wouldn’t take into account backlinks from Wikipedia due to some of their stringent posting standards.

CONs of being listed on Wikipedia:

There are also risks to consider in the creation of a Wikipedia page. Wikipedia pages are not controlled by the organization the page describes and the page can be updated by anyone. This allows negative content to be placed on the page, whether or not it is true or accurate. Anyone remember what happened to Sinbad? Even if unverified content is eventually removed from the main page, it will still reside under the View History tab or on other websites that may have referenced the material when it was live.

Per Wikipedia standards, neither a business, nor organizations or consultants working for that business, are eligible to make any corrections to that business’ page due to conflicts of interest. Though corrections cannot be made directly to a company page, companies or their representatives can recommend page updates and corrections to Wikipedia. Persons making recommendations must have an active Wikipedia account and should be active in the talk page for that Wikipedia article. And even then, the changes may not be made.

This ongoing maintenance of a company page requires constant monitoring to detect any incorrect or negative changes, which can be somewhat time-consuming. One solution is to use the watch function provided by Wikipedia. To use this system, monitors can log into their Wikipedia accounts to be alerted to any changes made. Change alerts can also be subscribed to via email updates or an RSS feed.

Perhaps the greatest negative to having a Wikipedia page lies somewhere in the future. When a company executive is charged with a DUI, or your kitchen is found to be in violation of health codes, or a disgruntled ex-employee decides to post a compromising photo from a company holiday party – be assured it will end up on Wikipedia… right there at the top of any Google search.

Further information

Scott works for Lovell Communications Inc., a Nashville PR firm with national marketing and public relations clients. Lovell specializes in public relations, crisis communications and healthcare marketing services.

The Wikipedia’s Sins Revisited

Sam Vaknin, author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited” and Associate Editor of “Global Politician” gives an interview to Tiempo Magazine (Spain) in August 2009.

Q: A recent thesis published by a Spanish university states that the Wikipedia is changing some patterns and developing certain ways to increase the quality of the articles, mostly by enforcing discussion and organizational aspects… Do you still think that the Wikipedia is not an encyclopaedia?

A: The Wikipedia is the massive, structured blog of an online cult. The cult is dedicated to the agglomeration of information and disinformation (i.e. data) and its classification (in the form of articles). It also revolves around the personality of Jimmy Wales and his “disciples” and, in this sense, it is a personality cult and a pseudo-religion. The only thing the Wikipedia is not is an encyclopedia.

Encyclopedias are authored by people who are authorities in their respective fields; whose credentials are transparent and vetted by their peers; and who subject themselves to review by equally qualified people. The Wikipedia is authored and edited by faceless, anonymous writers and editors. The fact that they are registered means nothing as the vast majority of them still hide behind aliases and handles. Some of them have been proven to have confabulated biographies and fictitious self-imputed academic credentials.

Most Wikipedia articles sport references. But references to which material? Only experts know which books, articles, and essays are worth citing from! The truth is that the Wikipedians – many of them teenagers – cannot do the referencing and research that are the prerequisite to serious scholarship (unless you stretch these words to an absurd limit).

Research is not about hoarding facts. It is about identifying and applying context and about possessing a synoptic view of ostensibly unrelated data. The Wikipedians can’t tell hype from fact and fad from fixture. Many of them lack the perspectives that life, experience, exposure, and learning -structured, frontal, hierarchical learning – bring with them. Knowledge is not another democratic institution, it cannot be crowdsourced. It is hierarchical for good reason and the hierarchy is built on merit and the merit is founded on learning.

There is nothing new about the collaborative model that is the Wikipedia. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), first published in 1928, was the outcome of seventy years of combined efforts of 2,000 zealous and industrious volunteers. The difference between the Wikipedia and the OED, though, is that the latter appointed editors to oversee and tutor these teeming hordes of wannabe scholars. The Encyclopedia Britannica (and online encyclopedias such as Citizendium) are going this route.

Q: Your article ‘The Six Sins of the Wikipedia’ really became a reference since it was published 3 years ago. Anarchy was one of the sins you described in it. In fact, although the Wikipedia was called in the beginning a free and democratic project, after your report –and some other studies and books- Jimmy Wales and the directors stopped talking about democracy. Now they talk about the anarchy involved in all the process. Do you feel responsible for some of these changes?

A. My article has been read by hundreds of thousands of people and quoted widely in many online and offline media. Yet, it is not mentioned in the very long Wikipedia article which deals with criticisms of the Wikipedia. This shows you the true nature of the Wikipedia: censorship, petty grievances, bias, and one-upmanship are rife. Not exactly the hallmarks of an encyclopedia.

The Wikipedia is a veritable battlefield: many topics and personages are blacklisted and activist editors delete within minutes any mention of them. Another example: the Birther movement in the USA (people who challenge Barack Obama’s eligibility to become President based on his alleged birth place in Kenya). Though a fringe group, it is sufficiently prominent to have warranted repeated references in White House press conferences. Only the Wikipedia keeps ignoring it and deleting references to it in the Barack Obama article.

I do not believe that my article had any influence on the culture of the Wikipedia. Procedural matters are decided by a cabal headed by Jimmy Wales, whose grandiose cosmic-messianic vision of the Wikipedia shapes it. Wales reacts to criticism by tweaking and facelifting, not by offering fundamental changes of the model. This is because he truly adheres to the notions of creative anarchy, crowd wisdom, and emergent knowledge and because he doesn’t know the differences between data (raw material, some of it relevant) and knowledge (the finished product).

Q. There have been reported many errors in Wikipedia’s coverage of current news, mostly due to anonymous editors, partly fixed through the flagged edition system. Where’s the border between an encyclopedia and a website? Shouldn’t an encyclopaedia take some time to compile facts of events with some time to think and cool down the issue rather than “cover” an event?

A. Most print encyclopedias publish yearbooks. Perspective is important, but so are timeliness and coverage. The difference between the Wikipedia and other encyclopedias is that the cumulative knowledge base and authoritative authorship of the Britannica, for instance, endow even its yearbook with a modicum of timelessness. Wikipedia’s coverage, by comparison, is ephemeral and often misleading because the people who put it together are ignorant or prejudiced or both.

Q. How would you describe the Wikipedia in relation with other encyclopaedias?

A. I am an encyclopedia junkie. I collect work of reference, old and new. As far as I can judge, the Wikipedia’s coverage of the natural and exact sciences is pretty good. Its humanities articles are an unmitigated disaster, though: they are replete with nonsense, plagiarism, falsities, and propaganda. I know a bit about psychology, economics, philosophy, and the history of certain parts of the world. Articles dealing with these fields are utterly and sometimes dangerously unreliable.

Q. How is your relation with *Wikipedians*? Are you still one of their enemies?

A. I was invited to write a few articles for the Nupedia, the Wikipedia’s predecessor. When Larry Sanger, the Wikipedia’s true originator, started the Wikipedia, I was among the first to contribute to it and kept on contributing to it until 2003. I have never been an enemy of the Wikipedia. I am, however, against the cult that has developed around it and the fact that it misrepresents itself as an encyclopedia.

Q. Do you agree with your own points of view after three years?

A. Things have improved a lot since I have written the article. The Wikipedia is less chaotic; less anonymous; the articles more rigorously referenced. But these are cosmetic changes. In the essence, the six “sins” I identified way back still stand:

  1. The Wikipedia is opaque and encourages recklessness;
  2. The Wikipedia is anarchic and definitely not democratic;
  3. The Might is Right Editorial Principle (quantity of edits is valued over quality and relationships with other editors count more than knowledge);
  4. Wikipedia is against real knowledge because it is against experts and academic “elites”;
  5. The Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia and misrepresents itself as such;
  6. The Wikipedia is rife with libel and violations of copyrights.

Q. Do you regret of any of the six sins now that some things are changing in the WikipediaBusiness Management Articles, like the prohibition for anonymous users to edit?

A. There is no prohibition on anonymous users to edit. All the Wikipedia users are anonymous to this very day. The prohibition is on unregistered users to edit. Users need to have an account and to wait three days before they can contribute new articles or make major edits. User identities are still unknown as all of them hide behind aliases and handles.

I am sorry that Wales didn’t have the guts to go all the way and implement a model similar to the Citizendium and the Britannica: qualified editors to review the contributions and edits of the teeming masses and make sure that the Wikipedia is not the bloody and confusing mess that it is now.

Further information

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101. His website is: http://samvak.tripod.com/

Wikipedia Vs Citizendium – The Pioneer Advantage

Wikipedia – that was launched way back in Jan 2001 by Jimmy Wales, is today the most preferred Internet encyclopedia and has positioned itself with the other Internet giants such as Google and eBay. Wikipedia, is a collaborative effort of volunteers from around the world, each of them adding substantial contribution to the pooled information already with the Wikipedia. The very idea of adapting a system wherein the users themselves are the contributors, and a sense of pride they can relate to having contributed something worthwhile, which million others would read – has always strided toward the growing popularity and reliability of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has been able to create a base of knowledge outside of institutions where the onus of being the right – is decided by the availability of knowledge and reliable sources linking to it, not the pedigree behind one’s name.

But However, Wikipedia being an authoritative source of knowledge has always been a question of doubt – at least the people who are researchers and experts in certain fields by themselves, finds it so. But, still that shouldn’t stop Wikipedia from being a good place to start with.

Wikipedia, having been the pioneer of Online encyclopedia has with itself the “First Mover” advantage or the “Pioneer advantage”, because of which over millions of users refer it on a regular basis for things they are unaware of.

There are also many Marketing Researches, that supports the fact that market pioneer gains the greatest advantage. Carpenter and Nakamoto, found out that 19 out of 25 companies that were the market leader in 1923 were still the market leader in 1963, 60 years later. Another market study by Robinson and Min found out that in a sample of industrial goods businesses, 66% of pioneers survived at least 10 years, versus 48% of the early followers.

But Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia, who left Wikipedia in 2002 to start his own Online Encyclopedia – “Citizendium” has its own reasons to challenge the hegemony of Wikipedia. Sanger in press release said ” Citizendium will soon attempt to unseat Wikipedia as the go-to destination for general information online”. He left Wiki with a bad taste, notably for the way things were run in Wikipedia. He wanted Wikipedia to be the portal of credible information, which ultimately would have binded Wikipedia with the Institution experts. In August 2007, he aired his view that ” The world needs a more credible free encyclopedia”, making it quite clear for what he stood.

Wikipedia, certainly does have its First Mover advantage but that doesn’t stop Citizendium from working upon its Second mover advantage efficiently. And if things works out in favorable way for Sanger’s Citizendium, Wikipedia’s would soon have to rethink about it’s marketing strategy.

Some of the popular examples of Later entrants over-throwing the market leaders are: IBM over Sperry in mainframe computers, Matsushita over Sony in VCRs, and GE over EMI in CAT scan equipments.

Citizendium’s aim is to create an “expert culture and community that encourages subject specialists (‘editors’) to contribute and ‘citizens’ (to be called “authors”) to respect the expert contributions.”(from Wikipedia’s article on Citizendium)

Being the Second Mover, Citizendium can avoid heavy investment in R&D by replicating or by importing the million+ Wikipedia articles into Citizendium. These articles will them be worked upon by experts and authors in their respective fields. One of the major concern for Wikipedia here is that, the articles are available under the GNU free documentation license, since the project was actually started to create a fork of wikipedia.

Hence, Citizendium will open up as an exact copy of Wikipedia, which would further save them five years of development time. And most important of all, Citizendium can learn from Wikipedia’s mistakes – No anonymous editing.

Future information

Rome Mele did their engineering in electronics, but went on to work as an SEO copywriter for a company. Now that, they are pursuing their Masters in Management in International business and am still looking forward to work as a Freelance writer.

Wikipedia – Using a Social Search Site to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Will social search sites such as Wikipedia, StumbleUpon, and Digg eventually become a viable alternative to Search Engines, to help drive traffic to your website? The fact of the matter is that nothing will ever replace or compete with the value behind search engine marketing.

If you dedicate the time, the resources, and you have the know-how, obtaining quality Search Engine listings can be invaluable. Nothing is better for a website operator than a “free” ad that generates traffic on an ongoing basis. If you are lucky enough to get a top listing for your product or service you can potentially generate more revenue or leads than a competitor with a much larger advertising budget but who doesn’t have those same results.

The online landscape is constantly changing and the growth of Web 2.0 as a viable marketing platform is changing the way we look at online marketing. Web 2.0 is described as a trend in World Wide Web technology and web design.

The most important element of this is a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies, which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing among their users. We have reached an era where platinum selling music artists will direct fans to their MySpace page, rather than their own website. These sites help to create a social connection between the users, and are increasingly becoming an important method to get the word out about your company, product, or service.

There are such a broad range of sites in this field that you may be at a loss over where to start. Well, the bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter. Each one of these social media sites has its own unique advantages and methods that a website owner can use to promote their business. Some of the attributes that these websites all have in common include the ability to reach a targeted audience, reach customers in a specific geographic region, to get your message out their quickly, and most importantly… to do all of this for FREE.

One of the sites responsible for the growth in social media marketing is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is one of the top ten most popular sites on the Internet today, in terms of unique visitors. Wikipedia describes itself as “a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project.” What makes Wikipedia a social media website is the fact that it is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. Wikipedia says “people of all ages and cultural and social backgrounds can write Wikipedia articles.” With rare exceptions, articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. The idea here is simple, to contribute to, or write an article on a topic related to your particular business.

Before beginning to contribute to Wikipedia you must determine what your ultimate goal is; are you determined to increase traffic to your site, build brand awareness or increase the number of inbound links to your website. If the primary goal of your contribution is to increase traffic than the quantity and more important the quality of your contributions should be your focus. You need to make certain that once your submissions are read, the reader will find it interesting or informative enough to either follow the citation back to your site through a number of different methods, or to possibly incite a discussion of the article in the discussion tab of the Wikipedia article. Once you engage the reader you have converted them into a potential customer. Another important feature to use in Wikipedia is the creation of your profile.

When you make a contribution to an article you have the option to “sign your name”. This allows interested users to follow your signature to a profile of you, where it is possible to than direct the visitor to your website. If the goal of your social media campaign is to merely increase the number of inbound links than the most important consideration when contributing to Wikipedia is on relevancy. You need to be certain your contributions are relevant in order to ensure their staying power, so that other users do not edit your submissions.

One of the most important and useful feature on Wikipedia for those of us looking to use it as a marketing method is the “External Links” section. This section appears at the bottom of every article. It is, as you might expect, a list of external links related to the content in the article.

It goes without saying that you will have very little success if you simply add a link to your commercial website on every page that you can find. They will be deleted almost as soon as they are posted. However, if you have, or can make, pages on your website that are dedicated to providing very useful information to a specific subject, you will be successful.

Many business owners are experts in their particular fields and there is no reason not to take advantage of the “Expert” title when writing your articles. These pages should be related to the products or services that you offer. They should not be blatant advertisements for your site or contain sales related material. They can, and should, however, offer a very easy navigation system that would allow the user to access the rest of your website and thereby convert them into a potential customer.

At the bottom of every article on Wikipedia is a reference list. The purpose of this list is to give proper credit to the source of information contained in the article. If you have added information to an article that is either quoted directly from your website, or extrapolated from information on your website, than you can reference the URL of your site in the reference section of Wikipedia.

The most important aspect to consider when contributing to Wikipedia is to focus on the right topic. You do not want to pick a topic that is too broad, or you will be competing against a large group of contributors, and more importantly your article will probably be edited frequently from your original text and you might lose your references.

You also will not want to pick a topic that is too specific, you may have a great addition to an article on “antique mahogany rocking chairs from the mid to late ottoman empire” but nobody will read this, because nobody will be searching for it, and it will most likely be edited out of the article.

The solution is to pick a topic somewhere in the middle. An article addition about “Chair Armrests” would probably draw allot more interest than the previous idea without the fear of being pushed out. You have to keep in mind that just because we are adding a contribution to an article does not mean that it will be read or even kept in the article.

A great tool to ultimately get a potential customer from the external links section of Wikipedia to your website is the use of e-zine articles. If you write an article on a subject related to your business, and you link it to Wikipedia directly through your website there is a possibility that it will be deleted by other users. Many users on Wikipedia are very much against the commercialization of information, and will view your link as an attempt to profit, not as an added resource of information.

This is unfortunate, because often times an article written by a business owner can act as both. The solution to this problem is to submit your articles to free e-zine article websites such as EzineArticles.com or earticlesonline.com. When you submit your article to these sites you are given the opportunity to list some external resources, this is a good place to link you’re website.

These sites will generally accept any article that is written following their guidelines, which basically tries to limit inappropriate material, copyrighted material and advertisements that are crudely modified to look like informative articles. When your article is posted on one of these websites it will give the author another layer of credibility. It is a good idea to link your articles from one of these websites in order to help maintain its existence on Wikipedia.

By nature, social media websites are constantly changing and these are just a handful of the methods that you can use to promote your website on Wikipedia. There is new information and new methods of marketing available almost on a daily basis. The key to being able to stay on top of these changes is to get involved with these websites as soon as possible, even if that means just becoming a member yourself. Once you are a member you have the ability to learn how they function and to see what other businesses are doing to advertise themselves with these websites. Social media websites offer unique opportunities, when you become a member of a community it often lends you a certain amount of trust and credibility that will help to separate you from the competitor who is selling their product out of a box in the corner of a monster search engine.

Further information

For more from Andrew Catalano visit: http://www.primevisibility.com

The Wikipedia – Can Teenagers write an Encyclopedia?

The vast majority of Wikipedia contributors and editors are under the age of 25. Many of the administrators (senior editors) are in their teens. This has been established by a survey conducted in 2003 and in various recent interviews with Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the enterprise.

The truth is that teenagers cannot do the referencing and research that are the prerequisite to serious scholarship – unless you stretch these words to an absurd limit. Research is not about hoarding facts. It is about identifying and applying context and about possessing a synoptic view of ostensibly unrelated data. Moreover, teenagers can’t tell hype from fact and fad from fixture. They lack the perspectives that life and learning -structured, frontal, hierarchical learning – bring with them.

Knowledge is not another democratic institution. It is hierarchical for good reason and the hierarchy is built on merit and the merit is founded on learning.It is not surprising that the Wikipedia emerged in the USA whose “culture” consists of truncated attention spans, snippets and soundbites, shortcuts and cliff notes. The Wikipedia is a pernicious counter-cultural phenomenon. It does not elevate or celebrate knowledge. The Wikipedia degrades knowledge by commoditizing it and by removing the filters, the gatekeepers, and the barriers to entry that have proven so essential hitherto.

Wikipedians boast that the articles in their “encyclopedia” are replete with citations and references. But citations from which sources and references to which works and authors? Absent the relevant credentials and education, how can an editor tell the difference between information and disinformation, quacks and authorities, fact and hearsay, truth and confabulation?

Knowledge is not comprised of lists of facts, “facts”, factoids, and rumors, the bread and butter of the Wikipedia. Real facts have to be verified, classified, and arranged within a historical and cultural context. Wikipedia articles read like laundry lists of information gleaned from secondary sources and invariably lack context and deep, true understanding of their subject matter.

A recent (late 2006) study by Heather Hopkins from Hitwise demonstrates the existence of a pernicious feedback loop between Google, Wikipedia, MySpace, and Blogspot. Wikipedia gets 54% of its traffic from Google search results. The majority of Wikipedia visitors then proceed to MySpace or Blogspot, both of which use Google as their search service and serve Google-generated advertisements.

Google has changed its search algorithm in late 2005-early 2006. I have been monitoring 154 keywords on Google since 1999. Of these, the number one (#1) search result in 128 keywords is now a Wikipedia article. More than a quarter (38 out of 128) of these “articles” are what the Wikipedia calls “stubs” (one or two sentences to be expanded by Wikipedians in the future). Between 7 and 10 of the articles that made it to the much-coveted number one spot are … empty pages, placeholders, yet to be written! (These results were obtained in early 2007).

This is Google’s policy now: Wikipedia articles regardless of their length or quality or even mere existence are placed by Google’s algorithm high up in the search results. Google even makes a Wikipedia search engine available to Webmasters for their Websites. The relationship between Google and Wikipedia is clearly intimate and mutually-reinforcing.

Google’s new algorithm, codenamed Big Daddy, still calculates the popularity of Websites by counting incoming links. An incoming link is a link to a given Website placed on an unrelated page somewhere on the Web. The more numerous such links – the higher the placement in Google’s search results pages. To avoid spamming and link farms, Google now rates the quality of “good and bad Internet neighborhoods”. Not all incoming links are treated equally. Some Internet properties are shunned. Links from such “bad” Websites actually contribute negatively to the overall score.

The top results in all 154 keywords I have been diligently monitoring since 1999 have changed dramatically since April 2006. The only common thread in all these upheavals is one: the more incoming links from MySpace, Digg, Tehnorati and similar Internet properties a Website has – the higher it is placed in the search results.

In other words: if Website A has 700 incoming links from 700 different Websites and website B has 700 incoming links, all of them from various pages on MySpace, Website B is ranked (much) higher in the search results. This holds true even when both Websites A and B sport the same PageRank. This holds true even if the bulk of Website A’s incoming links come from “good properties” in “good Internet neighborhoods”. Incoming links from MySpace trump every other category of incoming links.

An unsettling pattern emerges:

Wikipedia, the “encyclopedia” whose “editors” are mostly unqualified teenagers and young adults is touted by Google as an authoritative source of information. In search results, it is placed well ahead of sources of veritable information such as universities, government institutions, the home pages of recognized experts, the online full-text content of peer-reviewed professional and scholarly publications, real encyclopedias (such as the Encarta), and so on.

MySpace whose 110 million users are predominantly prepubescent and adolescents now dictates what Websites will occupy the first search results in Google’s search results pages. It is very easy to spam MySpace. It is considered by some experts to be a vast storehouse of link farms masquerading as “social networks”.

Google has vested, though unofficial and unannounced and, thereforeFree Web Content, undisclosed interests in both Wikipedia and MySpace. Wikipedia visitors end up on various properties whose search and ad placement technologies are Google’s and Wikipedia would have shriveled into insignificance had it not been to Google’s relentless promotion of its content.

Further information

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East.He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101. His website is: http://samvak.tripod.com/