Wikipedia and Relevant Search Results
I recently read Bruce Clay's blog entry on why he is frustrated (to say the least) about Wikipedia's strong showings in search results. I have opinions too but they are honestly coloured by my goal to have clients ranked under high converting keyphrases. Searches for those keyphrases are turning up Wikipedia results - ahead of my client's. So I posted this comment on Bruce's blog totally aware of my bias.
Gossip and Rumour - those are the two reasons Wikipedia is not a good resource for primarily three subject matters (and many others I expect): politics, social concerns and corporations. I will address the third.
As a Search Engine Marketer responsible for the online reputation, in search results, of large public companies, I care about what content is in the wikipedia article on that company. Much of the content for corporations is excellent but for every disenfranchised employee or stockholder this is THE place to post. Currently, there is very inaccurate and damaging material in brand name results. Attempts to remove it are reversed. Legal action is very difficult.
Now, should Wikipedia results be dominant for less controversial subjects in search results on Google and Yahoo (yes Yahoo has jumped on the bandwagon)? I don't think so, if only because it becomes tedious and over time will be ignored. Remember when Amazon showed up in every organic result? Google changed that. Wikipedia will lose the #1 spot in the limelight soon enough but don't expect it to go away, there is some awesome research information there. Time to go edit a Wikipedia page...