Via Fred who inspired Jason to blog his thoughts. Jason Calacanis sure stirred up a hornets nest there with that statement. Jason thinks Wikipedia could take in over a hundred million a year that could be used to fund charities or the like in return for some small ads. The overall tone of the piece was resoundly “Won’t someone think of the children?”. It seemed very much like children would starve because Wikipedia won’t go commercial. Would Jason like the library of congress to have each book aisle carry advertising billboards?
You can commercialise anything and everything really and one wonders why we don’t. Why do we draw a line? Isn’t the reason that Wikipedia doesn’t take ads the same way we don’t walk around in our daily lives looking like F1 drivers with sponsor names all over ourselves? Logos shaved into our scalps and brand names tattooed on our arms? We don’t need the extra cash. Nut why don’t we think of the children we could help if we did! We don’t need to distract users from their research or reading by telling them that they might like this or that product, even if it is relevant to what I’m reading. Would encyclopedia Brittanica have ads at the top of every page in their printed encyclopedias?
The backlash though is quite strong, even for people that dislike Calcanis. Next up monetizing the Book of Kells.