[Foundation-l] Rethinking brands

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Wed May 9 12:30:05 UTC 2007

Yann Forget wrote:
> Beside, we should not think in terms of commercial products for our
> projects. We have no deadline, no profits to make, no balance to adjust.
> Why do people come to our projects? Not because we have a big brand, not
> because they see an ad. They come because our content is free as a beer
> and free as a speech. Rather than a brand, that the message we need to
> spread out: Wikimedia is the greatest (and biggest) free project on the
> planet.
> Regards,
> Yann

I fear you are overestimating the knowledge of internet users on free 
licenses. I have no idea if studies have been made on that topic, but I 
would bet that 90% of our users at least have no beginning of an idea 
what a free license is. They come at first because when they make a 
search, they fall on wikipedia at every corner. They come back because 
it is free as in free beer and it looks really good. And they generally 
applaud the amazing ability we have to update things immediately as they 
Only a limited number comes because it is free as in free speech.

Second, most of you have no deadline, no profits to make, no balance to 
adjust. But a few of us have bills to pay. Bills have deadlines. And 
bills not paid mean no more websites accessible.
Purity is fine. But we have to be practical as well, and accept that 
money does not smell bad and is also needed to achieve our goal.

And last, about goal.
I think the message we need to spread on the planet is not "Wikimedia is 
the largest free project on the planet". It is "we help the entire 
humanity to access knowledge" (or educational content etc... replace by 
your favorite word).

Free is unclear in its meaning.
And our mission is not to be THE biggest FREE project. Our goal is to 
collect knowledge, and to take any step so that it spreads everywhere.
Free as in free speech and free as in free beer, are not goals. They are 
We are not building a library. We are offering the tools and the mortar 
and the bricks so that anyone on the planet can build its own library.


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