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thekohser
This article has some interesting value, because it mostly makes sense... but it's far too late to effectively lay this sort of groundwork.

By the by, King is building up a little portfolio of published content related to Wikipedia and marketing.

thekohser
King had posted a lengthy reply to me, discussing possible "FTC violations" facing the companies that do business with paid editors on Wikipedia. Then, it appears he removed his own comment, just as I was replying to it.

Very strange.
thekohser
King is this Wikipedia user.

He says that Edelman is a client of his.

Hmmm...
EricBarbour
He's right about this:
QUOTE
The volume of content is growing, but the active contributors to maintain, update and police those articles is shrinking. As this trend continues, vandalism, bias, outdated information and blatant factual errors will run even more rampant.

It already IS running even more rampant.

"hiring the CIA instead of sending a diplomat"? Diplomacy doesn't work with those bastards.
That should be a major point made in King's WP writing. And he's talking to FT2, evidently not
realizing FT2's sordid history.

Any bets on how long before someone blocks Mr. King for paid editing?
Anne Sexton
And now he's going to be in the signpost:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=454199593

And why does he call articles "wikis" on his user page and elsewhere? It would have exposed him even if he'd not given himself up. Wikipedia is well-guarded with shibboleths.
tarantino
QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 1st December 2011, 9:26pm) *

King is this Wikipedia user.

He says that Edelman is a client of his.

Hmmm...


He's also David44357 (T-C-L-K-R-D) (http://david44357.com/) and David4057 (T-C-L-K-R-D) .
Michaeldsuarez
QUOTE(tarantino @ Fri 2nd December 2011, 8:10pm) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 1st December 2011, 9:26pm) *

King is this Wikipedia user.

He says that Edelman is a client of his.

Hmmm...


He's also David44357 (T-C-L-K-R-D) (http://david44357.com/) and David4057 (T-C-L-K-R-D) .


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Con...User:David44357

David King isn't a stranger to Wikipedia's Conflict of Interest Noticeboard.
thekohser
QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Fri 2nd December 2011, 4:23pm) *

Any bets on how long before someone blocks Mr. King for paid editing?


With all the blustering and blocking Jimbo did when it came to PR firms, especially Kellen Communications, it's hard to believe he'd accept King who admits to working on behalf of Edelman, one of the biggest (and rather controversial) PR firms of all.
thekohser
QUOTE(Anne Sexton @ Fri 2nd December 2011, 5:28pm) *

And why does he call articles "wikis" on his user page and elsewhere?


Another bit of his writing included:
QUOTE
...the Wiki is bias (sic) and needs improvement.

I see that it use (sic) to be much worse.
tarantino
QUOTE(thekohser @ Sat 3rd December 2011, 3:29am) *

QUOTE(Anne Sexton @ Fri 2nd December 2011, 5:28pm) *

And why does he call articles "wikis" on his user page and elsewhere?


Another bit of his writing included:
QUOTE
...the Wiki is bias (sic) and needs improvement.

I see that it use (sic) to be much worse.



That's David King, Wikipedia Expert, for ya!

QUOTE
David King is a PR and social media marketing professional with a unique expertise in Wikipedia. He's created and led the Wikipedia practice for PR agencies for three years and written dozens of Wikis on Fortune 500 companies, major legislation, politicians, technology categories and startups. He has also trained new Wikipedians around the globe.

David comes to us from Silicon Valley, where he supported B2B technology companies ranging from the Fortune 500 to stealth startups. In his line of work David has demonstrated exponential growth in social media results, secured regular mainstream media coverage for embedded technology companies and routinely provided strategic recommendations that consistently bolstered results to dozens of companies.
Cla68
If anyone here has ever tried to add information that could be perceived as negative to any of the SeaWorld, Disney, or other theme park-related articles in Wikipedia, you might agree with me that those articles appear to be watched very closely and controlled by a small group of dedicated editors. I suspect those editors are working for marketing firms representing the US theme park industry. I don't think those editors would support King's proposal for more openness by editors acting on behalf of marketing firms, if they are, in fact, marketers, because it would open them up to obvious COI and POV allegations in the way they try to protect those articles from any type of pejorative information.
Peter Damian
It's totally outrageous that someone like King should be paid to edit articles on Wikipedia, given that payment automatically implies conflict of interest. I see that the members of some Marxist organisations, who create articles like "Autonomist_Marxist" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomist_Marxist are already complaining to Jimbo about this sorry state of affairs.
Kelly Martin
QUOTE(Cla68 @ Sun 4th December 2011, 2:42am) *
If anyone here has ever tried to add information that could be perceived as negative to any of the SeaWorld, Disney, or other theme park-related articles in Wikipedia, you might agree with me that those articles appear to be watched very closely and controlled by a small group of dedicated editors. I suspect those editors are working for marketing firms representing the US theme park industry.
Or merely by their ultradedicated, obsessive fans. Remember, for any possible thing you can name, there is someone out there who is pathologically obsessed with it. And many of these people are Wikipedia editors. Disney especially has some incredibly dedicated and obsessed fans.
Michaeldsuarez
The Signpost interviewed King for the Signpost:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wik...-05/In_the_news

Here's how the Wikipedian readership responded:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=464454071

QUOTE
King mentions "multi-billion dollar companies with some of the most ethical business practices in the world" which is ridiculous. There are no multi-billion dollar companies with ethical business practices. If they had ethical business practices they wouldn't be multi-billion dollar companies, they'd be non-profit charities.


King is a nice guy. He listened to my concerns in the Email conservation we had, and he disclosed his other accounts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=463723475

It's unfortunate that the Wikipedia community will never accept people such as King and Thekohser.

Edit: I also see that Skomorokh didn't give King a chance to give his opinion on the Bell Pottinger scandal. In fact, Skomorokh never asked King about the scandal after learning about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=464085824

Skomorokh published the story on December 6:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=464372170

If Skomorokh didn't have the time to ask, then perhaps he or she should've published the story the following week instead in order to give King the chance to better defend his position, but I guess that the Signpost is the fast-food restaurant of news; it rushes food / news out quickly without caring about its quality or the impact it may have on the health of others.
thekohser
David King sent me a message on Facebook:

QUOTE
Your forum won't seem to accept my email address to register. I wanted to clarify that Edelman is not a client, just a Wiki I worked on. I never meant to indicate that they paid me anything. I used them as an example of a bad company Wiki for a long time before deciding to fix it. I use to work there about six years ago and still have friends there.

In fact many Wikis I've touched represent genuine volunteer work and some clients I've counseled have made contributions on their own usernames.

I am also surprised Jimbo hasn't banned me. What's life without a little game of chance?

I responded to the Pottinger situation here
http://socialfresh.com/bell-pottinger-wikipedia/


And on Wikipedia Skomorokh's Talk page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Skomorokh


Could the WR staff give any reason why it would be difficult for King to register here?
Michaeldsuarez
QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 12th December 2011, 2:41pm) *

Could the WR staff give any reason why it would be difficult for King to register here?


http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=286

He was probably using a Yahoo or Gmail address.
gomi
QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 12th December 2011, 11:41am) *

David King sent me a message on Facebook: ... Could the WR staff give any reason why it would be difficult for King to register here?

As noted, automated registration is not allowed for freemail addresses. There are a number of ways to bypass this, all involving an email to our generic registration address that is well-known to you. We would be happy to create an account for Mr. King. Further comments on the topic to WR Review, please.

thekohser
Do you think David King obtained permission to use the Wikipedia name mark in his web domain, WikipediaMarketing.com, which was opened just one month ago?
thekohser
One of King's self-disclosed client Wikipedia articles is 8coupons. My favorite among the many reliable sources in the References section is provided by "Kiley E, broke-ass stuart's goddam website".
carbuncle
QUOTE(Michaeldsuarez @ Thu 8th December 2011, 12:59am) *

King is a nice guy. He listened to my concerns in the Email conservation we had, and he disclosed his other accounts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=463723475

I guess he forgot Analytics447.
thekohser
QUOTE(carbuncle @ Fri 16th December 2011, 12:01pm) *

I guess he forgot Analytics447.

You mean "User:Analytics447".
Michaeldsuarez
QUOTE(thekohser @ Fri 16th December 2011, 2:05pm) *

QUOTE(carbuncle @ Fri 16th December 2011, 12:01pm) *

I guess he forgot Analytics447.

You mean "User:Analytics447".


King says that the account is related to his, but he also says that he doesn't operate it. He says that an SAS employee operates it.
carbuncle
QUOTE(Michaeldsuarez @ Sat 17th December 2011, 1:30pm) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Fri 16th December 2011, 2:05pm) *

QUOTE(carbuncle @ Fri 16th December 2011, 12:01pm) *

I guess he forgot Analytics447.

You mean "User:Analytics447".


King says that the account is related to his, but he also says that he doesn't operate it. He says that an SAS employee operates it.

If he says it, it must be true, but I am confused why he says on his website "SAS Institute (in progress)" if he isn't the one doing the editing.
David44357
Hi All,

Michael asked me to register and post here. Responses to each inset. I won't be monitoring this string, so if you have any important questions, comments or contributions, I suggest just using my Talk page.

FTC Issues
TheKohser, SocialFresh seems to have a habit of randomly deleting my comments. Some kind of technical issue. The FTC settled with a firm last year that was "impersonating" disinterested consumers by posting "company endorsements" (fake reviews) online without identifying themselves as paid advocates. This seems like a carbon copy to me of anonymous bad faith edits on Wikipedia where marketers are impersonating volunteer contributors to post company endorsements. As far as I know, the FTC hasn't really made a stand on the issue, but you can bet organizations that do it systematically for profit would be their first targets.

I've been asked to write a full-length op-ed for the SignPost, in which I'm going to ask readers to report anonymous, bad faith COI edits to the FTC. There's no reason to punish people who just didn't know better, but even Pottinger said they didn't think they did anything illegal. People need to know that it is.

The Website
It's still a work in progress. The "logo" is not Wikipedia's logo. It's just a big "W" on a grey gear that is licensed for free on Wikimedia Commons. The whitepaper is geared towards marketers, but if anyone from the volunteer community has feedback, I'd be interested in modifying it to make sure the suggestions are in-line. One Wikipedian pinged me on Twitter and said it looked good.

@Cla68
We shouldn't expect companies behaving unethically by censoring their Wikipedia article to appreciate transparency. We can only expect them to fear the repurcussions, but that won't happen until the FTC takes action. As Kelly mentioned, it could also just be fans.

@Carbuncle
That username started out as a company handle with a guardian to make sure any edits were made in compliance with Wikipedia's rules. DS notified us that it needed to be on an individual (oh yah, duh). So we modified the text to identify the internal person that would be taking responsibility long-term. My contract was just about over at the time.

It's not just a new website like TheKohser pointed out, it's a draft work in progress. You guys must really be digging on me to have found it. Then again, I think I updated my LinkedIn already. I could see both ways. It's common practice for PR agencies to list every organization they've ever supported in any way. I could take it off the site, but that would only raise greater suspicion.

Michael said the account hasn't done anything wrong as far as he knows. If there's some issue, feel free to discuss on the Talk page using civility and Assume Good Faith. It shouldn't be a problem to post "with help from King4057" or something if that's needed.

Random Rant
I think a lot of animosity against paid-for writers is this idea that we're getting paid to do something they're doing for free. Supporting a company effort is very different than volunteer work. It involves talking to legal, developing company policy, working with experts, doing extensive research, a lot more collaboration with the community and most of all good consulting. Having editing wars with a client isn't any funner than it is on Wikipedia, but hiring a Wikipedian means the editing war can take place offline and an ethics guardian can explain why they need to contribute once then leave it to the community without censoring or controlling the content.

Parting Notes
In an era of 140 characters and everyone digesting information in "three quick tips," Wikipedia is an oasis of really detailed, well thought-out arguments, points and conversation (sometimes). I'm disapointed this forum is full of so much ad hominem, general nastiness and poor attitudes. Yah, surely I've put a target on my head.

I don't know the history with FT2 or Edelman. Who cares? We could do a lot more good by discussing the issues intellectually instead of acting like a bunch of schoolgirls spreading gossip and talking about all the other people we don't like.

I think we can all agree vandalism, editing wars, promotional content, salvaged advert, the burden of policing COI, etc. are all problems. We could be a part of the solution, help create a better encyclopedia, or well... we could all do this. Whatever this is.
thekohser
QUOTE(David44357 @ Mon 19th December 2011, 12:34pm) *

...if you have any important questions, comments or contributions, I suggest just using my Talk page.

For many of us, David, that is not a viable option.


QUOTE(David44357 @ Mon 19th December 2011, 12:34pm) *
FTC Issues
TheKohser, SocialFresh seems to have a habit of randomly deleting my comments. Some kind of technical issue. The FTC settled with a firm last year that was "impersonating" disinterested consumers by posting "company endorsements" (fake reviews) online without identifying themselves as paid advocates. This seems like a carbon copy to me of anonymous bad faith edits on Wikipedia where marketers are impersonating volunteer contributors to post company endorsements. As far as I know, the FTC hasn't really made a stand on the issue, but you can bet organizations that do it systematically for profit would be their first targets.

I've been asked to write a full-length op-ed for the SignPost, in which I'm going to ask readers to report anonymous, bad faith COI edits to the FTC. There's no reason to punish people who just didn't know better, but even Pottinger said they didn't think they did anything illegal. People need to know that it is.

"The consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute admission by the respondents of a law violation. In its revised endorsements and testimonials guide issued last year, the FTC ruled that an online post by a person connected to the seller, or someone who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product or service, should disclose the material connection the reviewer shares with the seller of the product or service. This applies to employees of both the seller and the seller's advertising agency."

That you would equate a personal product review (an excellent example of "original research", which is not tolerated on Wikipedia) with the compilation of reliable secondary sources in an encyclopedic format, suggests to me, David, that you might not have a very good handle on how paid editors typically construct content for Wikipedia. At least in my experience, I have never published a "company endorsement" on Wikipedia, as that would just be folly from the get-go. I strongly advise any prospective client who is seeking such endorsement-styled material to re-think their approach. I believe you're repeatedly throwing around this single FTC settlement as a benchmark case that now applies to Wikipedia as a scare tactic, to try to stifle your competition in the paid editing field. It's like you're a personal financial manager saying what Bill Gates settled to in 2004 set the stage to prohibit any CEO of any company from ever buying voting securities of any company, anywhere, except under the specific terms of reporting that only your office knows about.


QUOTE(David44357 @ Mon 19th December 2011, 12:34pm) *
I don't know the history with FT2 or Edelman. Who cares?

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana




carbuncle
QUOTE(David44357 @ Mon 19th December 2011, 5:34pm) *

@Carbuncle
That username started out as a company handle with a guardian to make sure any edits were made in compliance with Wikipedia's rules. DS notified us that it needed to be on an individual (oh yah, duh). So we modified the text to identify the internal person that would be taking responsibility long-term. My contract was just about over at the time.

I'm not sure I understand. You have the SAS stuff on your website, so presumably it is something you are involved with (it actually says "in progress" right beside it). Your answer implies that you were involved with monitoring someone else's edits -- did I get that right? -- but you are no longer involved. So you are taking credit on your website for work that someone else actually did, for a company with whom you are no longer associated? It all seems very confusing.
thekohser
I just had a conversation with Betsy Lordan at the FTC.

She referred me to a document published by the FTC, 16 CFR Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Within that document, it reads:

QUOTE
For purposes of this part, an endorsement means any advertising message (including verbal statements, demonstrations, or depictions of the name, signature, likeness or other identifying personal characteristics of an individual or the name or seal of an organization) that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser, even if the views expressed by that party are identical to those of the sponsoring advertiser. The party whose opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience the message appears to reflect will be called the endorser and may be an individual, group, or institution.


If Wikipedia does not allow "advertising messages", and the paid editor refuses to generate "advertising messages" on behalf of the client, then it seems abundantly clear to me that Mr. King's hand-waving about breaking FTC rules by editing Wikipedia pseudonymously on behalf of a paying client carries little to no weight in the real world.

Lordan went on to explain:
QUOTE
As for your question about Wikipedia -- whether anonymous editors at Wikipedia are at risk of FTC sanction if they modify articles about companies that either employ them or have a financial relationship with them: The FTC does not comment on the business practices of any particular business. However, generally speaking, according to the FTC’s revised Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, if a person is compensated to provide an endorsement for a product in advertising, and if that financial relationship is not apparent from the context, it should be disclosed.


In fact, in all of the materials Lordan sent me, the closest example I could find as it might relate to Wikipedia was this:
QUOTE
An online message board designated for discussions of new music download
technology is frequented by MP3 player enthusiasts. They exchange information about
new products, utilities, and the functionality of numerous playback devices. Unbeknownst
to the message board community, an employee of a leading playback device manufacturer
has been posting messages on the discussion board promoting the manufacturer’s product.
Knowledge of this poster’s employment likely would affect the weight or credibility of her
endorsement. Therefore, the poster should clearly and conspicuously disclose her
relationship to the manufacturer to members and readers of the message board.

Again, I do not see how a typical paid editor of Wikipedia is ever "promoting" a product. They are documenting what reliable, independent sources say about a product.

If anyone wants more information about the FTC's viewpoints, see the following:

News release

Legal Document (The Guides)

Business Education Materials

The Reverb case was announced afterward, in August 2010

Another case against Legacy Learning Systems followed, in March 2011

Until the FTC makes an explicit statement pertaining to Wikipedia, I am wholly convinced that normal paid Wikipedia editing is almost never in any violation of any FTC guidelines.
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