Based on the wisdom of crowds, nothing summarises a concept better than Wikipedia. The reference site has came a long way in its ten years in existence. From a heavily criticised agglomeration of unreliable information, and the bane of the teaching profession, to the most widely used point of reference on the internet.
Its credibility derives largely from the very aspect of its being which was the cause of such negativity in the early days; the indiscriminate access to the article editing process. By not only affording everyone the chance to modify, update and add to existing articles, but to encourage this strategy, the site attracted many sceptics.
However, following some extensive Wiki-vandalism, in which users would deliberately and cynically alter information, it seems that the joke has worn off. Prevailing attitudes have demonstrated the overwhelming success of the open approach to knowledge sharing, in which it has been proven that those who actively edit and submit articles are the people who care enough about a particular subject to do so.
According to SEO company QueryClick.com, such an approach has unquestionably paid off, a fact powerfully demonstrated by the strength of Wikipedia’s performance with search engines. A spokesperson from QueryClick said:
From personal experience, we are all aware of the unrivalled visibility of the online encyclopedia in search engine results pages. It is often we find that all that stands between our clients and the top spot is a Wikipedia entry on that particular subject.
Speaking of a venture which has paid off, the relative success of Wikipedia seems all the more impressive given its non-commercial status. It is entirely free to use, and is funded by the Wikipedia Foundation which in turn relies on public contributions and grants.