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Wikipedia Pages Now On Amazon — With Product Links 130

Posted by timothy
from the seems-like-a-cool-idea-to-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last month, e-commerce marketplace Amazon.com launched a relatively unnoticed new feature that brings content from Wikipedia pages to its own servers in a shadowy new project that appears to be called 'Shopping Enabled Wikipedia Pages.' Hosted on the Amazon.com domain, they replicate Wikipedia's content but have added links to where a book can be purchased on Amazon. Amazon representative Anya Waring told CNET when asked via e-mail, 'As of November, we have rolled out in the books category, however [it] will be expanding to new categories in 2011.' If Average Joe scrapes Wikipedia and adds affiliate links to it, Google will remove and punish the domains with duplicate pages."
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Wikipedia Pages Now On Amazon — With Product Links

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  • by oWj9*7!7dsggh7 (1952478) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:36PM (#34444414)
    I guess there's nothing that doesn't end up being commercialized. Wikipedia has certain problems — when I look up topics in which I'm an expert, I always find the articles full of mistakes — but it was nice to see something that was relatively free of commercial spin. No more, it seems.
  • by hoshino (790390) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:54PM (#34444540) Homepage
    Given that the whole of Wikipedia is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, does Amazon even need to pay them for this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:29PM (#34444742)

    As a sometimes-wikipedia editor (aren't we all) I have to say "MEH".

    I contribute to wikipeida because I want a useful reference. If Amazon is willing to mirror it (with a couple of ads) what is the problem?

  • I doubt that, Wikipedia has thousands of revisions on even less important topics and mistakes get corrected out pretty quick, of course, if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

    I stopped editing Wikipedia in 2005 or so. I can go back to articles in my subject (linguistics) that I used to follow, and I find mistakes that are still left there half a decade later. There have been plenty of edits in the meantime, but they've never fixed specific factual errors.

    And you'll find a lot of people disagree with your claim that fixing them is what "any experts in any field should be doing." My own specific branch of linguistics is tiny, it has a handful of experts. Several of them gave Wikipedia a try and then gave up on it pretty fast, as they felt that effecting any real beneficial change was impossible when you have cabals of non-expert editors. Besides, there's an occasional feeling in my field that our research doesn't really concern the public; it benefits them indirectly, but reaching out to the layman ourselves is a waste of time. Experts have a duty to do expert research, not writing popular science.

  • by takowl (905807) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @05:39PM (#34445808)

    If I was working on a research grant, I couldn't touch wikipedia *anyway*. It *might* be an OK source for grade / high-school and *some* undergrad papers / projects, but NOT for research grants.

    Wikipedia shouldn't be cited as a source at any level. But it can help you to understand a topic, and hopefully point you to some better sources if you need to cite something. There's no arbitrary limit at which you can't use it like that. Even when you're an expert in some field, you're still going to want information on related fields quite often.

  • by bourdux (1609219) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @05:44PM (#34445832)
    I might get bashed for this comment but I think that it is actually a good feature. As a researcher, I often use Wikipedia to get links to more more sources of authority that I can ask the laboratory to order on Amazon. As far as I understand, at the moment, Amazon just links ISBN and book titles back to Amazon so you can buy them. What I did before was copy and pasting the ISBN to Amazon or searching for the book title. The way they have implemented the shopping-enabled Wikipedia is close to the behaviour of customers looking for books on a specific subject and just spare some copy-paste. If I use wikipedia to get to know how I should spend my book budget, I think this is a very good approach.
  • by jcwayne (995747) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @05:51PM (#34445856) Homepage

    ...there's an occasional feeling in my field that our research doesn't really concern the public; it benefits them indirectly, but reaching out to the layman ourselves is a waste of time.

    I find that attitude, which is prevalent in many fields, very troubling.

  • Well I can only give my personal anecdote, but I think it stems from those that have decided "it shall be thus" and refusing to allow anything that affects their worldview, such as the article we had on /. recently that said when those that believe in a bias are confronted with evidence that goes against that bias it actually strengthens their belief in the bias instead of causing them to question it. Now my anecdote:

    When I first heard of Wikipedia I thought it was a good idea, basically a FOSS encyclopedia, where crowd-sourcing could improve content and fix errors, so I thought I'd just read and if I ever found an error I'd do my part and fix it. I didn't actually go out looking for errors, just going about my normal business. Then I found an error. It wasn't a big error, in fact I personally thought it wasn't a big deal at all. It simply said a character in a show was supposed to be thus and end up with A, when I knew from watching the director's commentary that this was caused by executive meddling and both the writer and director wanted something completely different. so I pointed this out, linked to both the director's and writer's sites where they said the same thing...and was promptly banned and the page changed back to what it was. No reason given, or explanation why the director and writer were looked at as unreliable sources or whatever, just gone. Out of curiosity I started looking at the behind the scenes stuff like the talk boards and ...wow. You are talking factions, rabid deletionists, and plenty with agendas, like the Scientologist that made sure anything nasty said about LRH got quickly shitcanned.

    So I'd say anybody that uses Wikipedia for any information more exciting than the chemical weight of a mineral or which wires to switch to make a crossover cable are just asking for it. Once one becomes a mod on that site you are talking about serious factions, admins watching their "favorite" entries like a hawk and wiping anything they don't agree with, just look on their message boards and you'll find some serious abuses of power and mods that love the banhammer and use it quite often. You of course are welcome to believe what you like, but personally if Wikipedia told me the sky was blue I'd want a second opinion.

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