Wikipedia angry at North Face after retailer gamed its site for free ads

The North Face has landed itself in hot water after gaming Wikipedia to get images of its products at the top of Google search results.

The bizarre stunt was part of an offbeat ad campaign created in partnership with agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made in which The North Face replaced travel-related images on Wikipedia with similar photos of its own — but with North Face gear included, Ad Age reported.

The effort was inspired by the knowledge that before going on a trip, many people Google the location and then hit Images, with a picture from Wikipedia’s site often appearing at the top of results. With this in mind, The North Face entered Wikipedia’s site and swapped a number of travel-related photos with its own images taken at the same locations, the only difference being that the new pictures included models wearing North Face gear. It was these photos that started to appear at the top of Google search results.

The ad campaign, called Top of Images, is fully explained by The North Face in a brazen video that kicked off with the question: “How can a brand be the first on Google without paying anything for it?”

It went on to say: “We hacked the results to reach one of the most difficult places: The top of the world’s largest search engine … Paying absolutely nothing, just by collaborating with Wikipedia.” And that’s where it all unraveled for The North Face, as Wikipedia was quick to insist that it gave no such permission.

In a blunt statement, the nonprofit organization said The North Face and the ad agency had “unethically manipulated Wikipedia.”

It continued: “Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation did not collaborate on this stunt, as The North Face falsely claims. In fact, what they did was akin to defacing public property, which is a surprising direction from The North Face.”

The organization said, “When The North Face exploits the trust you have in Wikipedia to sell you more clothes, you should be angry. Adding content that is solely for commercial promotion goes directly against the policies, purpose and mission of Wikipedia to provide neutral, fact-based knowledge to the world.”

Wikipedia’s volunteer editors have since taken down The North Face’s photos and replaced them with the original images, or cropped out the company’s logo if the original picture was unavailable.

The North Face has since apologized and ended the ad campaign, while at the same time promising to properly train its employees and partners about Wikipedia’s site policies. Responding to the apology, some on Twitter said The North Face should make a donation to Wikipedia equal to the value of the free advertising it received.

Love Wikipedia? Here’s how to download the entire site.

Product Review

Google’s third HD Chromecast is still a good streamer, but its value is slipping

The 3rd-gen Chromecast is still a pretty good way to stream in HD, but HD is getting pretty long in the tooth. That said, the addition of Prime Video following Google and Amazon's truce makes it a pretty comprehensive, if limited, streamer.

Blizzard will save players from Overwatch cheaters by shutting down matches

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said that matches in the multiplayer shooter will abruptly end as soon as the game detects a cheater. The feature will not result in lost Skill Rating for the honest players in the match.

The Rev-1 delivery robot is fast enough to hit the bike lane

Tootling into view is yet another wheel-based delivery robot, this one from U.S. startup Refraction A.I. The Rev-1 is designed for last-mile deliveries and is said to be faster and cheaper than many of its rivals.

Pablo Escobar’s brother pours fuel on the flamethrower feud with Elon Musk

Remember Elon Musk’s “Not a Flamethrower” from last year? Pablo Escobar’s brother Roberto recently launched his own eerily similar product, a device he said looks almost identical because Musk stole the idea from him and then beat…
Movies & TV

Save a few bucks with the best free feature-length movies on YouTube

Bank account emptier than you thought? Check out our curated list of the best full-length movies on YouTube to find flicks that are free, legally uploaded, and actually worth watching.

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've hand-picked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.

Forget work and find Google’s hidden, fun, time-wasting Wimbledon tennis game

Google has hidden a fun game based around the Wimbledon tennis tournament in its Search engine, ready for those looking to take a short (or not so short) break from what you should really be doing. Work, probably.

Could Google Stadia finally make game streaming a great way to play?

Google Stadia could be the game streaming service that finally does it right. High-resolution, HDR gaming, at high-frame rates for anyone in the world on almost any device? It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it's Google.

Not sure if Amazon Prime is right for you? Here is everything you need to know

So what is Amazon Prime? Is the premium membership really worth the cost of admission? With Prime Day, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime, and more, it might be worth jumping on board Amazon's all-inclusive membership program.

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

June may be ending, but the bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   
Movies & TV

20 Netflix hacks, tips, and tricks to make your streaming experience better

Netflix's tried-and-true formula hardly begs for improvement, but you can get even more out of your subscription with these 20 Netflix tips and tricks, sure to improve your online streaming experience.
Social Media

YouTube offers creators more ways to boost their bank accounts

Whether you're a top YouTube creator or just breaking into the game, the video-streaming site has some new features designed to help you please your fans and increase your bank balance.

All of these services let you own your content, so you’ll never lose it

With the closure of Microsoft's ebook store, consumers have begun to wonder exactly how much of their digital media they actually own, and how much is licensed. For the average person, the news isn't great.