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I had links in Wikipedia to pages on my site for about four years, until they were removed just months ago.
There's a competitor site whose link profile shows hundreds or even thousands of links from Wikipedia if I do a Google link: search.
Previously this competitor site didn't rank on the first page for any terms I target. Now I find that I'm outranked by this site for many terms.
I went back to Wikipedia and added my links again, only to have them removed immediately by an editor who labled them as spam. I contacted the editor to question why my links were removed, but the links to the competitor site were allowed to stay.
His explanation was that the competitor site was informational, while mine was clearly commercial. Horsefeathers. The competitor site is plastered with banner ads, as well as affiliate text links in the "content" pages. Further, my site offers useful information as well, and a minimum of advertising by comparison.
I find it hard to believe that a Russian site with tons of links from Wikipedia can now outrank many established US sites that don't have links from Wikipedia, and to believe that those Wiki links don't count.
I also wonder how the owner of the competitor site has obviously ingratiated himself with the editors at Wiki.
The wiki links were all at the top of the list for referrers to my site. That traffic vanished all at one time when one editor purged all the links to my site on all wiki pages that had accumulated for years. Once those links were gone a few weeks later I saw a big sudden drop in Yahoo SE traffic down to half. After about 6 weeks I noticed Google traffic very slowly going down. I assumed it was seasonal, but the decline has been slow and steady since the first week of May...like a deflating balloon. I gained 4-5 very good IBLs to my site over the same time period so perhaps the drop would have been bigger.
Matt has said the links are ignored. Believe him or don't, but it is just aimless speculation to be concerned about the effects of something where such a clear statement has been made.
Lots of clear statements have been made by Matt - who only recently mentioned that Google bowling is clearly not an issue for 99% of businesses online.
I, myself am interested to see the results of this, and whether the website does indeed lose positions.
Six weeks after all of my wiki links were removed I noticed the beginning of a downward trend in traffic.