Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not Crunchbase

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Wikipedia is not Crunchbase. Getting an article in Wikipedia for yourself or your company isn't necessarily a good thing. Writing one about your employer or your friend probably isn't doing them a favor. Most likely, sooner or later, it's going to be deleted. We're already established that there are certain criteria that have to be met for a company or a person to warrant an encyclopedia article, and a general desire to be famous doesn't satisfy it at all.

We're not here to help startups raise funding rounds[edit]

Clearly, the prevailing advice is that getting your company listed on Wikipedia is an important corporate and professional milestone, such that daily, several or even dozens of articles are written about relatively new, small, narrow businesses. It's common marketing advice that aspiring managers should come here and do this. It's fairly well known that having a Wikipedia article lends a company a certain cachet, and greatly improves its official site's ranking in Google search. Even Oracle's marketing blog tells you that your company absolutely needs a Wikipedia page. Inc. Magazine says you should try to create a bunch of blog posts and press releases to try and get your Wikipedia page to stick.

This attracts a lot of conflict of interest editing activity, where people who run a company, people who are heavily invested in that company, or people being paid by them, edit Wikipedia to attempt to make the company seem important and portray it in a positive light.

This is counter to the intent in our widely agreed and long-standing policies like neutral point of view. If Wikipedia accepts a role as a stage one must pass through in the startup lifecycle – i.e., you get your seed round, raise series A, create a Wikipedia article, then pursue series B, and so forth – then we would be accepting that Wikipedia is involved in this high-stakes process and has an awkward role as an arbiter of who is significant and who is doomed to fail. We could be taking on the role of a corporate directory, like Crunchbase or AngelList, but nobody thinks of those sites as an encyclopedia. Wikipedia's intent is to let independent reliable sources determine what is sufficiently notable for inclusion, not to eagerly cover everything that comes along.

It really doesn't matter how much money a company raised or has under management[edit]

Wikipedia attracts the creation of many articles on companies that are primarily chronologies of their raising of capital and hiring of managers in stages. The outline of these indistinct articles is roughly this:

My Successful Business
  • MSB was founded in 2019 by Sun Tzu and Karl Marx
  • It produces software widgets that work with SAP for the trading card industry
  • Seed round: raised $6 and a cup of tea
  • Series A: investment from Softbank of $100 million
  • Series B: $400 million from (list of angel investors with Wikipedia pages)
  • IPO on Nasdaq underwritten by some banks
  • It partnered with General Electric, a notable company, to sell its HAL-9000 system
  • Its software is available on Amazon
  • This manager was fired
  • That manager succeeded them and discontinued that product
  • The firm was invested in by Warren Buffet and Elon Musk
  • One of its early employees went to jail for securities fraud
  • It has 100 customers in 2022, including several Fortune 500 companies, the Government of British Columbia, and the Sveriges riksbank
  • Its market capitalization in 2022 was 256 million dollars

This mad lib has been filled out, often by single-purpose accounts, many thousands of times. The information is of course all true, and can all be cited to a combination of press releases, articles that rephrase press releases, announcements of its being in business that are published in trade press or local news, reportage in publications targeted toward active traders that report on stock movement (if listed), and product reviews.

Should everything that appears on this Bloomberg Terminal also be written in Wikipedia?

It doesn't describe how the company is woven into the history of its industry, its locality, its host culture or nations, or anything else. In effect, it's a record of a series of business transactions, not unlike a bank account statement or a corporate ledger.

Wikipedia does not accept 1200 (or even 30) nominations from Forbes for notability each year[edit]

I hope nobody would answer an email like this, but...

Forbes makes a very large number of lists. There's a directory of them. Forbes also publishes articles; some of them from staff authors like a reliable newspaper, and some of them as essentially paid features. The existence of this phenomenon is well documented. [1] [2] [3] [4]

So we should be cautious of articles within structures like Forbes' contributor program. But we already knew that. What about the lists?

The lists, as at the beginning of 2022, are varied. "Africa's Billionaires". "Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors". And so forth. They are compiled either from surveys, public record, or nominations, and amount essentially to a high-volume award program (the "30 under 30" lists alone amount to 90 awards in the "tent-pole lists" and 1200 individuals per year in total in 2021). They have a summit, put a bit of your resume on Forbes, and give you a profile page. But what does this mean for you or your company?

Not a lot.

For starters, notability is not inherited and so having a board and C-suite full of 30-under-30 listers doesn't count for a thing when we're considering the notability of the company.

As regards the individual listed, we refer to WP:ANYBIO. This is a subject of somewhat more controversy, because of the ambiguous language in "The person has received a well-known and significant award or honor...". Are the Forbes lists well-known? Certainly. Are they significant? it was discussed lightly in 2020 and it would seem there's a weak consensus that Forbes lists (and similar) do not in and of themselves confer notability on listees in the same way that a Nobel prize might.

An important principle here is that you can't purchase notability by paying PR firms, applying for (and sometimes paying for) awards, sending out press releases for coverage, and paying article authors to write about you.

What about these 5 interviews with the CEO?[edit]

Profiles are an extremely common form of business journalism. The methodology for writing one is essentially to interview the company's founders and (hopefully) fact-check everything you quote. One can discern a profile article (as opposed to investigative journalism or some other journalistic genre) by noting whether it relies primarily on quotes with affiliated people for its information on the company. In its purest form, a profile will uncritically report on anything the subjects of its interviews say: their future plans, their forecasts for their company, why they're doing it, and where they come from.

This type of profile does not support notability, because it is a dependent source. Even though business journalists typically don't profile insignificant people, a claim of notability should be supported by the same thing that led the journalist to profile them in the first place. And if it can't be found, it's entirely possible that the journalist for whatever reason profiled a person or company who is not (yet?) notable. It does not matter that the profile is in a national newspaper or a well-recognized business source.

Business journalism has a proclivity to fawn over its subjects for a wide variety of reasons; consider this analysis. It has many incentives to do so. Positive press will tend to make interview subjects more forthcoming. There are occasionally conflicts of interest. Investigative journalism is much more expensive than paraphrasing press releases and interviewing founders. Perhaps most of all, the task of doing investigative journalism on a new startup, about which there will be little to find, is truly daunting. Whatever the instant reason, the business press has a well-documented reliability problem[1] and we need to approach citations to it with extreme caution.

A notable businessperson is someone like Jack Welch, who, for better or worse, developed and promulgated business practices that have been widely implemented and widely studied. His notability doesn't come from his wealth or the size of the companies he ran, it comes from his impact on the trajectory of business itself.

So what is significant coverage in multiple reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject?[edit]

Basically, we should apply WP:CORPDEPTH, WP:ORGIND and WP:ORGCRIT. An article that helps establish notability is third-party independent reliable coverage that does one or more of these things:

  • Independently (especially, independently of interviews with company leaders) discuss what the company will change in the world
  • Discuss what impact the company is having on external stakeholders
  • Contextualize the impact the company had on the history of its field of industry, its community, or society

In summary, to be notable, the company needs to have some scope of impact beyond its investors, employees, or even small customer bases. This impact should affect more than a handful of people, and the way in which it affects them should be in some way unique. So for example, selling a product used by a few thousand people or employing several hundred people in a locality are essentially fungible impacts that do not contribute to notability. But if the company were to be the subject of a history-making labor action, or if its product were to completely change the nature of some industry or the trajectory of some locality in a lasting way, and this is reported on, this is a good sign it's notable.

And what's a routine business action?[edit]

Was Wilbur B. Foshay notable because of his bank account balance being large enough to afford building this tower, or because of the fraud?

Things that businesses do all the time are not inherently notable. There are essentially two types of articles that discuss routine business actions: ones that report only the action and its financial impact on involved businesses, and ones that provide significant context around how the action will impact a broad community or the general public. The former do not generally contribute to notability, no matter how important the source that reported them.

Here's a short list of routine business action article topics that are common in business journalism, with examples that fail to establish the company's notability because the article's independent content (if any) does not go beyond the routine business action:

  • Incorporation and changes in legal status [5]
  • The sale or purchase of stock [6]
  • The borrowing of money and the repayment of loans [7]
  • Merger and acquisition activity (this may be useful to include in an article about a notable participant in the transaction) [8]
  • The hiring, appointment, firing, or resignation of staff, executives, and board members, even if the individuals are notable [9]
  • Bankruptcy or the winding down of operations [10]
  • Legal proceedings involving the company or its staff or leadership
  • The opening and closing of offices [11] [12]
  • The launching and withdrawal of products [13] [14]
  • Products being reviewed based on press releases, or reviews published for marketing purposes [15] [16] [17]
  • Products being purchased by notable entities [18]
  • The sale of products through particular channels [19] [20]
  • Purchases of products and signing of contracts; the gain and loss of customers [21] [22] [23]
  • Winning industry awards [24] [25]
  • Placing at some position in some category or being listed in some list [26] [27]
  • Legally required announcements [28] [29]

More discussion on this topic, and what is and isn't trivial coverage for organizations, is at WP:FUNDED.

Sources that establish notability must not only be reliable, but the coverage must be independent and significant. Reportage of routine business actions cannot satisfy the significant criteria, unless significance is established by additionally reporting the effects of the event announced.

Money sitting in this bank vault has a very limited impact on world history until it's used for something.
Source assessment table:
Source Independent? Reliable? Significant coverage? Count source toward GNG?
NYT Business Article No While the NYT is an independent source when it is engaged in investigative journalism, the article in question relies, for all of its substantive non-routine statements, on the company's executives as a source; this article is therefore dependent as to its non-routine statements. Yes We generally accept the NYT checks its sources, and the article is therefore reliable as to its numerical facts and the provenance of its quotations. No In WP:CORPDEPTH, we write that significant coverage must "extend well beyond... routine announcements". No
This table may not be a final or consensus view; it may summarize developing consensus, or reflect assessments of a single editor. Created using {{source assess table}}.

So for example, an article that merely announces Raytheon Technologies is opening a factory in Lesotho to build fighter jets does not count toward notability. If, however, the article discussed how this represented a major shift in the practice of manufacturing fighter jets and in the economy of Lesotho, resulting in an enduring aerospace industry in the country, that (combined with articles about several other events) goes to notability.

Argument about this transpires with some regularity at AfD, where commenters in favour of retaining an article will frequently cite to coverage in well-recognized publications that reports only on the company's fundraising activities and interviews its founders. This type of article is a profile. When it comes to establishing notability, being profiled doesn't cut it any more than having a certificate of incorporation does, because it does not establish that the company has in any way affected the world.

Sources which can be used to indicate notability go beyond simply showing that the company is in business, or making products or money. They demonstrate a lasting impact which will remain relevant even after the company winds down.


It is true that most of us live under capitalism, and under capitalism very important decisions about resource allocation and social participation are indeed decided by companies and business magnates. But using corporate capitalization, existence, or even success to show that an article's subject is notable is backwards. It is very often the case that those with resources do notable things, but it's not the having resources that does it. It's the doing of the notable things. Merely having a bunch of money doesn't change much about the world; it's what gets done with that money that has the potential to create history.

If the primary purpose of an article is to document the existence of some legal entity, about which the only thing that can be said is that it exists and goes about its routine business actions, that article should be deleted.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Usher, Nikki (2017). "Making business news: A production analysis of The New York Times". International Journal of Communication. 2017 (11): 363-382. ISSN 1932-8036. Retrieved 30 May 2022.