CAD Companies Push the Marketing Frontier on Wikipedia
August 29, 20072 min read
Reading Paul Wilkinson blog, I discovered a sophisticated and pretty useful online tool called Wikipedia Scanner created by Virgil Griffith. Using the WikiScanner anybody can check the anonymous editing of Wikipedia pages done from computers registered under company domains such as Autodesk, SolidWork, and Adobe. A search for edits from the Autodesk domain returns a long list of Wikipedia editing activity, spread over several topics, with only a few related to CAD and AutoCAD. Some of the edits are about Autodesk products and are useful contributions to the Wikipedia project. Other edits feel more like a marketing operation than a sincere, objective contribution.
One example is from November 12, 2006, when someone from an Autodesk computer, IP 126.96.36.199, edited the SolidWorks' page, adding this sentence to the product description: "In recent years it has begun to lose ground to more sophisticated modeling systems like Autodesk Inventor, launched in 1999, and Solid Edge in 1996."
What is particularly fascinating is the variety of topics edited from Autodesk computers. You can find editing on pages ranging from the Roman Empire page (see the edit) to the Pretty Ricky, a R&B group (see the edit).
Edits from SolidWorks' computers are slightly less interesting. Someone edited the Autodesk products pages a few times, typically trimming the more explicit marketing statements (by the way, mostly posted from Autodesk computers). Here's one example where the sentence “Generally considered a latecomer to the market, Inventor has quickly become the number one mid-market modeler” later became “Generally considered a latecomer to the market, Inventor has been bundled with AutoCAD to increase usage”. The page was edited from IP 188.8.131.52, a computer on SolidWorks domain.
Another interesting example is from July 15, 2006, when someone from a SolidWorks' computer, this time from IP 184.108.40.206, edited the SolidWorks' page and added this candidly promotional sentence: "Click here to learn more about COSMOSFloWorks" (see edit).
The last pearl I found using Wikipedia Scanner is from Adobe (see all edits): on July 22, 2005 someone from an Adobe computer, IP 220.127.116.11, changed the Carly Fiorina page on Wikipedia, calling the then HP CEO, “Bitchy Fiorina” (see edit).