--- "Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales" <jwales(a)wikia.com> wrote:
Kurt Jansson wrote:
I am of the opinion that we will never "need" the money. I think the
challenge to the community is going to be from a different direction:
how much good could we do to further our goals as a charitable
institution, and does that good outweigh our distaste for advertising.
I think we can do all we want to do through donations and grants. If we are
going to have any kind of advertising ever, then, IMO, it should be limited to
a newsletter/WikiReader (ala National Geographic) sent to our millions of
subscriber-donors. An additional idea would be to have a separate website where
we post vetted article/book versions alongside Google ads (all the editing
would still be at the ad-free Wikipedia and other wiki projects).
As a thought experiment, consider a day 2 years in the
Wikipedia is serving 1 billion pageviews per month, and we are
continuing to easily fund the site's growth through donations, grants,
I certainly hope it will only be 1 billion page views a month, since my
projection of 'business as usual' (meaning 90% traffic growth compounded
quarterly) has us at more than 135 billion hits per month by the end of 2006.
A conservative estimate (in my experience, which is
valid I think) of
how much revenue we could generate with Google Adwords or similar,
i.e. no banners, no flashing lights, no popups, would be around $1 per
thousand. So a billion pageviews a month generates at least $1
million per month. Even with the ability for people who hate ads to
opt-out with a single click, the revenue would be substantial.
And so could the risks to our community and all we have built. But if and when
we are presented with the choice between closing shop and having Google ads,
then and *only* then should we seriously consider it. All my opinion, of
course. There are many millions of dollars available in grants that we not even
looked at yet.
My dream is to create a comprehensive free
encyclopedia to be
distributed at extremely low cost to them to every single person on
I share this dream and I do believe we can achieve it in a reasonable timeframe
without taking shortcuts through bad parts of town (which is how I view
advertising on the wikis).
Is our distaste for ads so high that we are willing
deny the people who don't even have access to clean drinking water a
copy of a work that could help empower them to change their lives?
I personally don't have a distaste for ads - they just annoy me a bit. But I do
have a distaste for the thought of forks such as with Enciclopedia Libre. This
is especially dangerous now that chapters are being set-up that could fund a
To sum up, I don't think we will ever
"need" the money to keep doing
what we are doing. But I think the day may come when we have to make
a very tough decision about what kind of good we could do with the
It may indeed. Let's try to exhaust all other funding options first. If we find
that doesn't work, or if the amount of money is only good enough to keep the
website up and little else, then we can seriously consider ads on Wikipedia and
the other project wikis. But we *must* demonstrate to the community that there
simply is no other way and that we tried, and failed, to do everything ad-free.
I have my own opinion about what we should do when
that day comes,
which you might or might not be able to glean from the above, but for
now I remain firmly opposed to advertising on Wikipedia, for all the
reasons that many people have already mentioned: credibility, good
taste, the feeling that we are doing something extra-ordinary, etc.
Exactly my position as well.
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
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