[Foundation-l] Wikia leasing office space to WMF

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Fri Jan 23 21:34:54 UTC 2009

2009/1/23 Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org>:
> 2009/1/23 David Levy <lifeisunfair at gmail.com>:
>> Erik Moeller wrote:
>> [snip]
>>> * We've suggested to Wikia a fair market rate based on the average of
>>> the other options we obtained;
>>> * After some negotiation, Wikia accepted. Weighing other pros and cons
>>> of the space against other options, we decided to go with Wikia;
>> To clarify, did Wikia match the lowest bid?
> No, and we didn't ask them to. We obtained about a dozen bids, ranging
> from about $150 to $565 per person/month. Obviously all those spaces
> had different characteristics.  Wikia was in the running because it
> had desirable characteristics from the start (high proximity, shared
> kitchen access, shared speakerphone use, shared Internet connection,
> etc.). We used averaging as a way to arrive at a fair market rate to
> neither advantage nor disadvantage Wikia when suggesting a rate. The
> averaging also resulted in a rate that was roughly equivalent to the
> most comparable space in the running.

Is that common practice for US charities? I'm not sure that would cut
it in the UK...

> Wikia, too, looked at different potential tenants for the space. The
> final rate we negotiated was slightly higher than the most comparable
> option we looked at (and considered very seriously, including a site
> visit). However, the relative advantages of the Wikia space
> compensated for that. We were quite careful not to draw any special
> advantages from our relationship to Wikia, and Wikia was careful to
> treat us in our negotiations like any other tenant. While we're likely
> to work with them on technical aspects of the projects, we were also
> careful to keep that completely separate.

You don't just need to avoid a COI, you need to avoid the perception
of one. This deal will, undoubtedly, be interpreted by many as an
inside job. I'm sure it isn't, but that's how a lot of people will see
it. Did you consider the PR cost when weighing it all up?

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