Web Design and Development
Update: Wikipedia reached its goal. See below.
If you’ve visited Wikipedia lately, you may have noticed a new banner displayed across the top of every page. The banner, shown below, directs users to a plea for donations by Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales.
According to the plea, Wikipedia needs donations to cover its operating expenses of about 6 million dollars per year which pays the salaries of its 23 employees, as well as the additional costs of managing the website. Wales says:
Your donation helps us in several ways. Most importantly, you will help us cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet. Funds also help us improve the software that runs Wikipedia — making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for.
Now, all of us seasoned bloggers and webmasters can easily think of a great solution: advertising. But for some reason, Wales does not want to place ads on the Wikipedia website. In the plea, he states that he wants to keep Wikipedia
free of charge and
free of advertising. Again, I wonder, what is wrong with advertising? After all, some might say that the persistent banner solicitation of donations is akin to advertising…
If Wikipedia were to place advertisements on their website, they would be able to generate more than enough revenue to cover their operating costs. Alternatively, they could also attract paid ‘category sponsors’, who would pay top dollar for Wikipedia advertising spots. And if advertisements were tastefully added, Wikipedia could monetize its traffic, all without changing the user experience.
In this economy, using donations as a sole source of revenue is probably not the best business model, especially given the potential for the website.
Wales doesn’t say why he wants to keep Wikipedia ad-free, but perhaps he is worried about how Wikipedia users would react. Would they stop adding information? Would they stop volunteering their time?
What do you think? Would you stop using Wikipedia is ads were present? Would it dilute its authority and change its use as a web encyclopedia?
According to Venture Beat, Wikipedia successfully met its fundraising goals and raised over $2 million in just 8 days of advertising for donations! Read more in their article "Wikipedia raises $6.2 M, exceeds 2008 fundraising goal".Tags: affiliate advertising, donations, Wikipedia