[Foundation-l] A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Mon Apr 23 00:01:38 UTC 2007

On 4/23/07, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> How about using the old domain, wikipedia.com, as a site for stable
> Wikipedia versions, with ads on? The ad money, as well as paying our
> comparatively small hosting and staff costs, could go toward
> educational programmes for those people who could benefit from our
> hard work but *aren't* comfortable, well-fed first-world citizens.

This idea seems to inevitably lead towards a sharp distinction between
a "for readers" Wikipedia and a "for editors" Wikipedia. I'm not
convinced that distinction is helpful, rather, I would try to work to
make the current editorial processes of Wikipedia more transparent
(this is the main thing stable version functionality provides:
transparency about what it is you are looking it).

A very simple change in this direction, for example, would be to have
a little banner for any page that has been touched less than an hour

"This Wikipedia article has been edited very recently. Wikipedia is _a
work in progress_ that can be edited by anyone. Please review our
disclaimers before using information presented here."

Again, more transparency, more information to the reader about what
Wikipedia _is_. The interests of the encyclopedia come before any
money-making opportunities, and I'm not convinced that the .com/.org
split would help these interests. I am, in fact, concerned that it
would lead to more confusion and division.

Now, that said, one advertising-related idea that has been discussed
and not completely shouted down is a kind of "opt-out" advertising
which is opt-in by default for readers, and opt-out by default for
registered users. I'm not convinced it is necessary either, but it
seems like the most sensible gradual next step. But as for all the
great programs that ads could support, how about we spec these out and
budget them first, and try to raise funds for them the old-fashioned
non-profit way? I find it, for lack of a better word, asinine to
justify ads with all the great things we could do if we had money.
Shouldn't we have a much better idea of what these great things are
_before_ we try to get more money?

Peace & Love,

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

"An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

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