“In my mind it is unconscionable to not monetize the Wikipedia”

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.

3 Responses to ““In my mind it is unconscionable to not monetize the Wikipedia””

  1. I’ve discovered that in many cases, context-sensitive advertisements actually inform researchers instead of distracting them.

  2. Mark says:

    They’ve monitised FireFox. That search bar people fire queries into, that generates Mozilla Corp (A for profit entity) tens of millions per year and it’s pretty unintrusive as a revenue generator.

    Ultimately Wikipedia can decide what it wants to do, but with Wikipedia’s user volume it doesn’t have to look like NASCAR if it doesn’t want to.

  3. pwurple says:

    With money comes a responsibility for content. Wikipedia’s beauty is that you take everything with a grain of salt. Take the pages on irish towns and cities at the moment. Graffiti is all it can be called. See the ballincollig pages for a good example.

    I know we don’t have the online population to police our wikipedia presence, and that’s fine… but advertisers expect bang for their buck. I wouldn’t want to see wikipedia damaged or limited by financial commitments or legal constraints.