Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wikipedia could disappear in just 3-4 months?

According to a report on Via Digitalis, the chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation, Florence Devouard, told the Lift 07 conference that,
“At this point, Wikipedia has the financial resources to run its servers for about 3 to 4 months. If we do not find additional funding, it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear”
Now personally, this sounds more like a plea for help to the industry then a really genuine threat. After all there are certainly enough people out there who could throw a little cash at Wikipedia to help it carry on.

The news doesn't surprise me that greatly though. There's always been a distinct lack of monetisation elements on Wikipedia. As it popularity grew, it's bandwidth costs must have grown exponentially, and the business model was never designed for that sort of rapid, and expensive growth. It would probably be quite easily fixable with the addition of small, non-intrusive ads on the site. The revenue that something like that would generate could easily be in the millions of dollars and cover the operating costs.

My bet is is that some big altruistic cheese in the industry will stump up a few million for the bandwidth costs in the interim and then we'll see some sort of revenue generation on Wikipedia within the next year which will have the sole purpose of sustaining Wikipedia rather than necessarily making profit.


James Higham said...

That would personally be awful because, not being on the grid, I can't even cough up one penny. To hve to pay for info would put them into the Britannica class and I flatly refuse to pay them for info.

And yet Wiki must live. A dilemma.

Ross said...

'Business model'? I know beggars who have more developed financial projections.

Anonymous said...

Just donate a few bucks. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It takes PayPal.

Ralph said...

With the visitor numbers they get a little advertising should cover things or would that be against their ethos?

Disillusioned and Bored said...

I love wikipedia and it has become my default research tool. I'm putting in some bucks.

Serf said...

I hate the way in which cooperative projects like Wiki, are so anti commerce.

What's wrong with a few small adverts. Who will it hurt?

(PS: My word verification includes the words usoil, your secret is out)