Wikipedia's Growth Story


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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR272
Case Length : 13 pages
Period : 2001-07
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Wikipedia
Themes: Business Models | Growth Factors and Challenges
Industry : Internet and e-Commerce
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts

History and Growth of Wikipedia

Wikipedia traces its origins to its predecessor Nupedia, founded by Jimmy Wales (Wales). Nupedia was also an open content, peer review encyclopedia to which highly qualified people contributed. Larry Sanger (Sanger) functioned as its editor-in-chief.

Sanger took up the responsibility of recruiting people for Nupedia.

He hired an assistant who worked solely to recruit people for Nupedia and, later, for Wikipedia. Along with Wales, he gave many interviews which helped in marketing the new project...

The Success Mantras

In 2007, around 75% of the articles in Wikipedia were on the non-English sites of Wikipedia. This had steadily increased from 10% in January 2002, and about 50% in January 2004. Since the beginning, Wikipedia strove to be an international project...

The Criticisms

The most common criticism against Wikipedia was that the credentials of the author of the article or its editor were not displayed on the website.

Some articles which were written by people knowledgeable in the field were excellent, containing useful and relevant information, while others were very amateurish, unauthoritative, and even downright wrong. Hence, it was very difficult to determine the credibility of the articles, especially for those who were new to the topic that they were researching on Wikipedia...

The Future of Wikipedia?

In light of the criticisms relating to the quality of content, Wikipedia did take some corrective measures. One such step was that users had to register themselves on the site to be able to write a new article. However, many users felt that this policy was a departure from Wikipedia's ideology that anyone could contribute content to the site. For extreme vandalism, there was arbitration and mediation machinery in place...

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Wikipedia's Original Policies
Exhibit II: Wikipedia - Revised Policies and Guidelines

 

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