UPDATE: I just received this response from Jessica Hollister, the Director of Public Relations for The North Face.
“We believe deeply in Wikipedia’s mission and integrity–and apologize for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles. Effective immediately, we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we’ll strive to do better and commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on Wikipedia’s site policies.“
I can’t believe the North Face is bragging about this but they did a video claiming they collaborated with Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, however, says that is not true and they’re upset.
Basically, the North Face figured out that when you search for a place, typically the first image that comes up for that place is from Wikipedia. So the North Face conducted a photo shoot in all those places then went into Wikipedia and replaced all the pictures.
They referred to it, at first, as hacking, but then claimed they collaborated with Wikipedia.
They not only had not, but wiped out the work of volunteers and others who maintain Wikipedia all to make sure the North Face’s products showed up in the first images of places.
Look, the North Face has the right to do that. Anyone can go in to Wikipedia and swap out pictures for better pictures. In most cases, however, the North Face’s pictures focused on their products with out of focus backgrounds of the places.
It’s kind of funny, but I’m actually really shocked they went out of their way to brag about it. They even produced a video to brag about it. A company that prides itself on being a good corporate citizen behaving like this probably was not wise and I expect we’ll see some anti-capitalist agitators now take off after the company.