[Wikipedia-l] Wikipedia v. Britannica

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Aug 18 18:05:28 UTC 2003

Jimmy Wales wrote:

>So a question naturally comes to mind - how do our 75,000 >1,500 byte
>articles stack up again Britannica's 75,000 articles?
Really, how important is it that we be always looking over our shoulders 
to see what Britannica is doing?  IIRC it was in the Landy/Bannister 
Miracle Mile race in the 1950s where the leader missed the record 
because he looked over his shoulder to see how his competitor was doing; 
that action affected his momentum.  Britannica's 75,000 is relatively 
static compared to our more dynamic and more adaptable collection.  To 
the extent that we have the inferior article on a subject, we also have 
the greater flexibility for improvement

>I ask because I continue to work on a plan for a drive to Wikipedia
>1.0, and a big part of that plan involves getting a realistic
>assessment of what a Wikipedia 1.0 will look like, relative to
Again, never mind "relative to Britannica".  It may be more important to 
know who our target audience is going to be, and what kind of 
markettiing strategy will reach that audience.  What retail price will 
the public find acceptable, and how does that relate to our costs of 
production and shipping?  What infrastructure do we need to support the 
sales that we do get?

I believe that our deficiencies can be turned into marketting assets. 
 WP1.0 would be a "snapshot" of what Wikipedia is at a given point in 
time to which is added a promise of improvement.  Instead of the cash 
rebate that Britannica offers,  we can offer some number of revised 
disks to be mailed in the future .

>If I end up setting a 'target date' for Wikipedia 1.0 of 1 year in the
>future, what might we realistically expect to achieve?  What if I set
>the 'target date' for 2 years in the future?
>What I'd like to find out is that we have a realistic chance of having
>a Wikipedia 1.0 release 1 year from now that rivals Britannica.  But
>there's no need to hurry, if it will take 2 years or 5 years, that's
>how long it will take.
I think the target date for WP1.0 is largely arbitrary.  It should be 
chosen for the best market impact.  


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