The bones of Wikipedia are built on contributions from people across the world, including those with fraudulent intent. Texas-based public relations firm Wiki-PR, for example, was accused last year of creating over 300 fake accounts to edit entries in favor of its clients. Earlier this week, a number of big-name PR and marketing companies attempted to establish credibility by declaring their public commitment to the online encyclopedia's guidelines on neutrality. Their joint statement includes an agreement to abide by Wikipedia's Terms of Use, investigate and correct policy violations, advise clients on proper use of the collaborative website, and provide transparency where possible.

"There's a long-standing tension between the PR world and Wikipedia editors," Beutler Ink president Bill Beutler tells Advertising Age, adding that "paid advocates" should refrain from editing Wikipedia entries. Ogilvy's Marshall Manson expressed hopes that the multi-agency statement will help establish trust between the firms and members of the Wikipedia communities. "We recognize that this will take time, and we are willing to work patiently in the months to come," he writes. Beutler Ink and Ogilvy are two of the 11 participating agencies, the others are FleishmanHillard, Peppercomm, Burson-Marsteller, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Voce Communications, Edelman, Allison+Partners, and Glover Park Group.