Bizwiki Blog

Archive for August, 2009

Wikipedia to Control Changes to Articles About People

According to the New York Times, in a move to tighten up control of sensitive information Wikipedia will soon require approval from an experienced editor before changes to articles about living people are displayed on the site.

In February we reported that Wikipedia was considering just such a move in our post Wikipedia breaks with the tradition of ‘Anything Goes’. They are now going ahead with what is being termed “flagged revisions” which means that any revisions done to articles about living people will not be published instantly but rather be flagged and reviewed by an experienced editor. If it’s approved, the revision will then be published and visible to the general public.

This is very similar to the way Bizwiki works, with editors involved in the approval and moderation of new company data and business information. The difference is that we do this for all records, rather than just some, because we believe it’s vitally important that users can trust and rely on the site’s information.

With people from school children to journalists to CEO’s citing Wikipedia as a reference, ensuring the accuracy of the articles has to be paramount. Mr. Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, obviously agrees and is taking steps towards protecting both Wikipedia’s information and its reputation.

This additional step in the process is sure to be controversial as it means editing these articles will no longer be instant, and the division of experienced volunteer editors from new users is a move away from treating everyone as equal contributors of knowledge. However, I see it more as a necessary maturation of their approach as more and more people are relying on their site for information.

If anything, my prediction is that this trend will continue, with Wikipedia gradually tightening up the control of other sections of the site. With the breadth of articles on Wikipedia now being so huge they can afford to slow down the acceptance of new information for the sake of accuracy and honesty.

They can afford to lose speed, but not trust.

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Atlanta to Kiss the White Pages Goodbye

Taking another huge step in the right direction AT&T is looking to begin phasing out the distribution of its printed white pages phone book. According to an article by WSB News, the company has requested permission from the Georgia Public Service Commission to stop delivering white pages to homes in Atlanta, Chamblee, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, East Point, Hapeville, Lithonia, Sandy Springs and Tucker. If approved, those areas would not receive phone books from December 2009.

Households in those areas that do want to receive the white pages can opt in. And of course, they are going to continue printing the business white and yellow pages. AT&T have already moved towards a white pages opt-in scheme in other states.

This is fantastic news and definitely a progressive move. In their request to discontinue delivery of the white pages to Altanta metro households, AT&T acknowledged the environmental benefits of no longer publishing 876,000+ phone books for the area per year, most of which probably became doorstops, booster seats, impromptu stools and gently leaning towers gathering dust in some forgotten corner.

Hopefully we will continue to see more and more areas moved over to an opt in scheme for phone book delivery. Some people do use printed phone books and there is no reason why those people shouldn’t be able to receive them. An opt in scheme would work well for everyone (except maybe the publishers looking to sell expensive YP advertising).

A post from last year provides an interesting look at the opt-out debate surrounding business yellow pages and how desperately the industry does not want to allow it to happen. That was in October 2008. Maybe we’re seeing a shift beginning with the white pages, maybe not.

If you like the idea of banning unsolicited white page door drops you can sign the petition over at Ban the Phone Book. Does anyone know if there’s a similar one for Yellow Pages?

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Skinny Yellow: Yellow Pages Gets Thinner

Is your Yellow Pages phone book thinner than it used to be? You might not have noticed, but apparently it’s on a diet. The Yellow Page publisher AT&T blames the shrinkage on several factors including (un-surprisingly) online advertising.

According to an article by WWAY, “The 2009-2010 version of the Yellow Pages has 140 pages less than last year’s version, which had 60 pages less than 2007-2008″. That might not sound like a lot of lost ads but when you consider that most of the pages had at least several, if not several dozen, advertisers on them it starts to add up.

It’s no great surprise that instead of paying for an ad in a printed Yellow Pages phone book that will enjoy few, if any, peeks (mine are stacked precariously in the corner awaiting the recycling run) business owners are turning instead to free online advertising. Why pay for what you can get for free?

If you haven’t already gotten your free Bizwiki listing, sign up and add your business now! You can add opening hours, payment types accepted, products, services, specialties, awards won, a special Message from the Company, and of course your contact details and website address. Click here to get started. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.

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Bizwiki Beta US – Minor Tweaks and Bug Fixes

Yesterday we put a few tweaks and bug fixes live including:

  • Near-instant map co-ordinates update for businesses that have edited their address.
  • A minor design change to the Bizwiki homepage.
  • A more robust profanity filter.
  • Easier to understand instructions for the email that is sent when a user has forgotten their password.

We’ll be rolling out more changes and updates in the coming weeks.

So keep sending in your comments and suggestions!

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A Big Thank You to Everyone Who Submitted Their Company

Since we launched the Beta version of last week we have been very pleased with the sheer volume of user registrations and company submissions.

We would like to especially thank Choice Window Tinting Orlando for being the first submission we received, just minutes after the US Beta was launched. We wish you all the best in your business and hope your free listing on brings you many new customers.

Most companies submitting their details are taking advantage of the Message from the Company field which is great. That’s your space, go ahead and tell us all about what a fantastic company you have and why we should do business with you. Bizwiki editors do not amend what you place in the Message from the Company field (unless it has obviously not been written on behalf of the company) so feel free to advertise yourself as much as you want.

And don’t forget that your initial submission doesn’t have to be the end. If you would like to add more details to your record you can at any time. Both additions and updates are free so if you forgot to add your toll free number or your website address why not do it now? Please note that our editors review all submissions and updates to ensure accuracy.

It’s early days and we have a lot of new features planned for so please feel free to contact us with any suggestions or comments you might have. We’d love to hear from you.

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