Gregory J. Kohs
Gregory J. Kohs is a market researcher and Internet personality in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kohs has owned or operated a number of different websites, including (the defunct) AmericanCynic.com, FactsOnCall.com, Akahele.org, and (the current) MyWikiBiz.com, Wikipediocracy.com, and a now-dormant Blogspot blog called Inside Market Research. He also wrote over 90 articles for (the defunct) Examiner.com.
In June 2006, Kohs launched MyWikiBiz.com, a service which was successful in writing Wikipedia® entries for businesses, initially for $49 to $99. A few days after he put out an August 2006 press release, though, MyWikiBiz's account on Wikipedia was blocked by Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales.
In 1986, Kohs accepted a Dean's Scholarship (half tuition) to attend Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Graduating magna cum laude in 1990 with a Bachelor's degree in History (his thesis was about the media's portrayal of American strategic bombing in World War II), Kohs then accepted a Russell Conwell Fellowship (full tuition, plus annual stipend) to attend Temple University in Philadelphia. There, he pursued a PhD degree which combined elements of Military History and Quantitative Methods in Geography. After passing the comprehensive exams and completing work on about one-quarter of his dissertation (which was to have covered the Eastern European aviation industry in the 1930s), Kohs opted to leave academia with his Master's degree to pursue a career in marketing research.
Having worked for three previous research firms (Data and Management Counsel, Research Works, and ICR (International Communications Research)), Kohs is now directing market research at Comcast Business. His work includes mostly quantitative survey data collection among B2B audiences; however, some qualitative initiatives are a part of his responsibilities, too.
Engagement with the Wikimedia Foundation
Kohs was a pioneer in thinking about Wikipedia as a factual platform that could also address reputation management. In conversations with Jimmy Wales about the MyWikiBiz enterprise, the two agreed that if Kohs posted proposed Wikipedia text on his own MyWikiBiz website (under a free license compatible with Wikipedia), other editors could be encouraged—upon review—to copy said content into Wikipedia articles. Both men publicly agreed that this activity would be within Wikipedia's standards of conduct. Within months, Wales changed his mind and "banned" Kohs permanently across the English Wikipedia project, which was an action outside the normal disciplinary regimen, without notice or due process. This action set Kohs into motion executing an ongoing campaign to investigate malfeasance and poor governance on Wikipedia and within the Wikimedia Foundation. He co-founded a Wikipedia criticism forum called Wikipediocracy.com.
As one example, Kohs proposed a panel discussion about paid Wikipedia editing for the 2014 WikiConference USA, purchasing his conference registration and a train ticket to travel to New York City. On the eve of the conference, though, he was suddenly uninvited by conference organizers, without giving any detailed explanation. Similarly in 2015, the WikiConference USA was held at the National Archives in Washington, DC as an event that was open to the public, and the marketing materials specifically said that skeptics were invited to participate. Again, Kohs attempted to attend, but his registration was refused without explanation. Kohs had submitted a membership dues check to Wikimedia DC, the local chapter that co-sponsored the WikiConference, but it was then returned. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) materials obtained by Kohs demonstrated that conference organizers had specifically violated guidelines laid down for them by National Archives staff, by not sharing a list of event-banned individuals for review by Archives staff.
Through publishing platforms at Examiner.com and Wikipediocracy.com, Kohs has been a consistent critic of Jimmy Wales' poor behavior and clumsy leadership of Wikipedia and other organizations. Kohs spoke about Wikipedia and the phenomenon of paid editing on a cable TV broadcast on G4TV in 2007, along with guest Molly Wood. Sharyl Attkisson featured Kohs on her April 17, 2016 national broadcast of the show Full Measure.
Kohs is the youngest child of four, born in Jackson, Michigan. In 1981, he moved with his parents to Central Florida, settling in Winter Park, Florida. Kohs now lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with his wife, daughter, and family pets. Kohs has served in the past on the board of directors of different non-profit organizations, including the Internet Review Corporation and the Church of the Loving Shepherd.
- Bergstein, Brian. "Idea of Paid Entries Roils Wikipedia", The Washington Post / Associated Press, 2007-01-24.