Online Marketing Unplugged

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wikis: A new tool for Internet marketing?

This is an awesome post by Derek Gehl from the Internet Marketing Center :

Wikis: A new tool for Internet marketing?

Have you ever heard of a wiki?

It might sound like something Dr. Seuss invented, but it's actually one of the most interesting technologies on the Web today!

A wiki is a type of web site that lets ALL its users update the site's content. The name comes from the Hawaiian word for "quick," and is sometimes used as an acronym for "what I know is..."

Wikis allow people to share ideas and communicate with one another in a fresh new way. Every visitor to a wiki web site can add to, delete, or edit the site's content, creating a sort of living web page full of fresh perspectives and up-to-the-minute information from multiple users.

Take (the Web's biggest and best-known wiki): It's an online encyclopedia that allows its users to update its database of entries on everything from historical figures, to technical terms, to world events.

Wikipedia has information about pretty much everything, and it has become a well-known and reliable source of online information.

But why do YOU want to know about wikis? Well, wikis are starting to look like an interesting option for online businesses...

Just think about the possibilities that having an online, interactive space like this could create for your business. Right off the top of my head, I can see wikis being a great tool to...

  • Market your products and services,Offer product information to your potential customers
  • Answer questions about your product
  • Collect customer feedback
  • Establish a company voice and identity -- creating a strong connection with your audience
  • Attract traffic from the search engines -- and drive that traffic back to your web site
  • Produce unique and reliable information -- adding value to your site
  • Create a sense of community that keeps your readers and customers coming back for more
  • Gather feedback and fresh ideas from your target audience

... and more.

Now, I'm NOT saying that wikis will be the hot new Internet marketing tool for every business on the 'Net.

The fact is, many people don't want to allow a free-for-all exchange of information about their business, with their audience (and possibly competitors!) writing anything they like, at any time.

But I'm willing to bet that marketing wikis will be the next incarnation of wikis on the 'Net. For example, check out how is using their new ProductWiki to allow even more customer feedback on their products than ever before...

If you want to try experimenting with wikis, your best bet is to take advantage of a wiki-hosting tools like JotSpot, SeedWiki, or Swiki, where you get clear instructions and a template to create your site. I've played around with these tools a bit and can assure you that it's really easy to get your own wiki up and running!

Wikis are definitely a technology worth keeping an eye on. I'm excited to see how they will affect the online community in the coming months and years...


  • Not only do wikis allow a company to increase its feedback and direct interactions with its customers, they allow the company to become the "host" of a collection of wikis clustered around some topic or interest. The company can allow its customers to create their own wikis in a sort of "wiki neighborhood" where all the wikis share a common interest. The company wiki(s) then brings traffic to these "daughter" wikis and owners of the "daughter" wiki work to bring traffic to the "neighborhood" that spills over into the company wikis. We have seen this happen several times on and this ability to support a whole "ecosystem" of related wikis will become an important part of how companies can use wikis to increase their influence.

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