Wikipedia joins the world's biggest brands

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, has for the first time joined the top five of the world's biggest brands.

Priding itself on the idea that 'more minds are better than one,' the branded website has steadily become one of consumers' most-loved since its birth in 2001.

According to Brand Channel, which just announced the brands that had the biggest impact in 2006, it is now more popular than Starbucks and Nokia in the eyes of the public.

Last year, the site's founder, Jimmy Wales, took steps to limit page-creation in light of criticism that people were adding false and sometimes malicious entries.

Students were also reminded that despite the new measures, they would be "foolish" to rely on its content as a primary reference to impress academics or lecturers.

However the controversy hasn't inhibited Wikipedia's growth as the premier - if not always accurate - online research tool: pages are now available in well over 100 languages, and English language visitors alone can browse over 1.5million articles.

Its gradual success is in stark contrast to the almost overnight stardom enjoyed by YouTube - the branded portal that is more popular, Brand Channel found.

Meanwhile marketers won't be surprised to learn that the two biggest brands of last year haven't shifted since 2005 - Apple is number two and Google is number one.

Reflecting on the sheer scale of Google's presence, Brand Channel said: "Perhaps its most noteworthy brand achievement last year was the addition of the verb "to google" in two major English-language dictionaries."

The group's findings are based on the votes of over 3,600 people from 99 countries who voted in November and December of last year.

The greatest number of voters fell in the age range of 26 to 35-year-olds, with an almost equal number of men and women.


30th January 2007

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