Wikipedia running out of cash?

Florence Devourad, chairwoman of the Wikipedia Foundation, warned the audience this morning at LIFT that they need more funds to keep servers up and running.

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Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. I assumed they got some sort of an all-inclusive data-center, and not just a box of hardware. What else would I expect from a multibillion-company?

    But maybe I’m a bit naive regarding that topic, since I didn’t research any details…

  2. I assumed they got some sort of an all-inclusive data-center, and not just a box of hardware. What else would I expect from a multibillion-company?

    But maybe I’m a bit naive regarding that topic, since I didn’t research any details…

  3. They should sell “live” links ;)

    Or maybe the ability to edit an “advertorial” section about items relating to your products that can’t be edited by outsides… call it “Official Company Line”

  4. They should sell “live” links ;)

    Or maybe the ability to edit an “advertorial” section about items relating to your products that can’t be edited by outsides… call it “Official Company Line”

  5. Wikipedia ha le ore contate?

    E’ una vera bomba quella lanciata sul pubblico del LIFT 2007 da Florence Devourad, chairwoman della Wikipedia Foundation:

    “Allo stato attuale, Wikipedia dispone di risorse finanziarie per mantenere i propri server altri 3 o 4 mesi. Se non tro…

  6. That is not expected news. You would think if Yahoo did do that they would have paid for everything else. I am surprised more people don’t donate (IE Large Corps), Microsoft should now since they are paying people for Wikilobbying (watch Colbert :D).

  7. That is not expected news. You would think if Yahoo did do that they would have paid for everything else. I am surprised more people don’t donate (IE Large Corps), Microsoft should now since they are paying people for Wikilobbying (watch Colbert :D).

  8. Please note that Wikipedia is not shutting down! It just takes money to run a top-10 web site, non-profit or no. If we never ran fundraisers and never took in any more money, of course it would run out, but that’s not going to happen. :) Business continues as usual.

    What we have from Yahoo is a cluster of servers and provided bandwidth in South Korea which we use for caching proxies to visitors in Asia.

    We have a similar cluster in Europe from another provider.

    Both of these caching clusters are *hugely* helpful, together serving about half our total bandwidth — that means cutting operating costs by *a lot* compared to what we’d need if we didn’t have them.

    Our primary hosting is at a data center in Tampa, Florida, where the bulk of our machines are; that’s not provided to us for free (which also means we’re not dependent on the continuing goodwill of a single benefactor).

  9. Please note that Wikipedia is not shutting down! It just takes money to run a top-10 web site, non-profit or no. If we never ran fundraisers and never took in any more money, of course it would run out, but that’s not going to happen. :) Business continues as usual.

    What we have from Yahoo is a cluster of servers and provided bandwidth in South Korea which we use for caching proxies to visitors in Asia.

    We have a similar cluster in Europe from another provider.

    Both of these caching clusters are *hugely* helpful, together serving about half our total bandwidth — that means cutting operating costs by *a lot* compared to what we’d need if we didn’t have them.

    Our primary hosting is at a data center in Tampa, Florida, where the bulk of our machines are; that’s not provided to us for free (which also means we’re not dependent on the continuing goodwill of a single benefactor).

  10. Wikipedia, like all Web 2.0 activities, atleast needs to consider how to make enough money to fund itself. Frankly the site has been too dominated by people hostile to any economic activity on the Internet or any business activity. That is not practicle in our world.

    If Wikipedia is going to be more than just the first big wiki that then fails, it needs to find ways, like all not for profits, to find ways to cover its costs.

    The information struction of thousands of editors and millions of readers must provide some semiotic structures and information architecture that could be provided “at costs” to ethical companies.

  11. Wikipedia, like all Web 2.0 activities, atleast needs to consider how to make enough money to fund itself. Frankly the site has been too dominated by people hostile to any economic activity on the Internet or any business activity. That is not practicle in our world.

    If Wikipedia is going to be more than just the first big wiki that then fails, it needs to find ways, like all not for profits, to find ways to cover its costs.

    The information struction of thousands of editors and millions of readers must provide some semiotic structures and information architecture that could be provided “at costs” to ethical companies.

  12. If Google bought wikipedia, I would stop using them. Google thinks they own the web, that their search engine is the best there is. It’s not. Mindshare only, despite the number of people using them. What do you expect from a search engine that has become a verb. I’ll stick with Ask.com.

    I find myself using Ask.com more and more. It’s almost become my default search engine. Everything Google touches loses that small feeling and become just another acquisition. I refuse to use Google for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is they are too haughty for me. Do no evil… yeah whatever. Tell that to the Chinese people you help put behind bars.

  13. If Google bought wikipedia, I would stop using them. Google thinks they own the web, that their search engine is the best there is. It’s not. Mindshare only, despite the number of people using them. What do you expect from a search engine that has become a verb. I’ll stick with Ask.com.

    I find myself using Ask.com more and more. It’s almost become my default search engine. Everything Google touches loses that small feeling and become just another acquisition. I refuse to use Google for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is they are too haughty for me. Do no evil… yeah whatever. Tell that to the Chinese people you help put behind bars.

  14. Seems like this is a divide/conquer problem . . . for access into wikipedia, maybe they should require us all to run a P2P client to share the burden in a mathematically fashionable way?

  15. Seems like this is a divide/conquer problem . . . for access into wikipedia, maybe they should require us all to run a P2P client to share the burden in a mathematically fashionable way?

  16. Perhaps what would be better is for Wales to perhaps see if some university would host Wikipedia for nothing, but allowing him the same control.

  17. Perhaps what would be better is for Wales to perhaps see if some university would host Wikipedia for nothing, but allowing him the same control.

  18. So does that mean it is the end of free speech and community moderated information?

    Wikipedia was never that. They may say that they were but many folks no longer see it as such. With no equality application of the rules, no clear method of dispute process, and with each users doing what they want as they see fit, many folks no longer see it as a true source of unbiased information.

    And their recent application of nofollow noindex to outbound links while their are millions of live links to them just shows how little they really feel about those who have provided the information to them and those who have worked long hours on their site.

    It’s turned into a joke really…

  19. So does that mean it is the end of free speech and community moderated information?

    Wikipedia was never that. They may say that they were but many folks no longer see it as such. With no equality application of the rules, no clear method of dispute process, and with each users doing what they want as they see fit, many folks no longer see it as a true source of unbiased information.

    And their recent application of nofollow noindex to outbound links while their are millions of live links to them just shows how little they really feel about those who have provided the information to them and those who have worked long hours on their site.

    It’s turned into a joke really…

  20. Is there any chance they could just cut back? They seem to be expanding every time I turn around (Wikiquote, etc.) Why not just stick to being a dictionary for a while?

  21. Is there any chance they could just cut back? They seem to be expanding every time I turn around (Wikiquote, etc.) Why not just stick to being a dictionary for a while?

  22. While I love Wikipedia as a service, this is a clear indication that they need to revise their (yes, I’ll say it!) business model. Operating a web site the size of Wikipedia requires millions of dollars, as most of us are aware, but living off of donations means that they simply need to limit thier services.

    They could possibly take on the share/nag-ware model, and prompt end users every 5 pages for a donation. Maybe that would improve the financial resources slightly, or maybe that would kill traffic even more so.

  23. While I love Wikipedia as a service, this is a clear indication that they need to revise their (yes, I’ll say it!) business model. Operating a web site the size of Wikipedia requires millions of dollars, as most of us are aware, but living off of donations means that they simply need to limit thier services.

    They could possibly take on the share/nag-ware model, and prompt end users every 5 pages for a donation. Maybe that would improve the financial resources slightly, or maybe that would kill traffic even more so.

  24. Someone needs to modify the “Wikipedia” article to state that they have tons of cash laying around. After all, if Wikipedia says it’s so, it must be.

  25. Someone needs to modify the “Wikipedia” article to state that they have tons of cash laying around. After all, if Wikipedia says it’s so, it must be.

  26. Ahaha. Really? Wow. It could be true even so. Maybe they need some ads or some sponsors. Sure, it will come out as another multibillion dollar hugging subsiadiary. ;)

  27. Ahaha. Really? Wow. It could be true even so. Maybe they need some ads or some sponsors. Sure, it will come out as another multibillion dollar hugging subsiadiary. ;)

  28. @28,

    No way… Ads are evil and corporate. We need something on the Internet besides craigslist that is social and ad-free.

    Like I said above, if I were Jimmy Wales, I would contact various universities and see if they would host Wikipedia for nothing, but allowing him to maintain control. This is a win-win, since Jimmy gets his bandwidth paid for and the university gets the pride of hosting such a profound social site used daily by millions. I would approach Europeans first, since they are more properly attuned to giving things away for free, which is the right thing to do in a case like this. Almost all European universties are heavily subsidized by the state, which is the way it should be in the US.

    I envy those Europeans who can attend university though the BS/BA level on the state’s dime. Sure they pay higher taxes, but at least they get a return on investment. Too many Americans are greedy for huge paychecks and they think the world owes them everything.

    It’s time the socialized aspect starting coming to the fore in the US. I’d gladly pay an additional 10% of my income in taxes to know I didn’t have to worry about medical needs or university fees. You may disagree, but that’s your right.

  29. @28,

    No way… Ads are evil and corporate. We need something on the Internet besides craigslist that is social and ad-free.

    Like I said above, if I were Jimmy Wales, I would contact various universities and see if they would host Wikipedia for nothing, but allowing him to maintain control. This is a win-win, since Jimmy gets his bandwidth paid for and the university gets the pride of hosting such a profound social site used daily by millions. I would approach Europeans first, since they are more properly attuned to giving things away for free, which is the right thing to do in a case like this. Almost all European universties are heavily subsidized by the state, which is the way it should be in the US.

    I envy those Europeans who can attend university though the BS/BA level on the state’s dime. Sure they pay higher taxes, but at least they get a return on investment. Too many Americans are greedy for huge paychecks and they think the world owes them everything.

    It’s time the socialized aspect starting coming to the fore in the US. I’d gladly pay an additional 10% of my income in taxes to know I didn’t have to worry about medical needs or university fees. You may disagree, but that’s your right.

  30. @29 The university hosting will never happen. All those kids on the campuses downloading free stuff? Heck, I’m sitting in a state library right now and security comes around and sees what you’re doing they’re so worried about bandwidth and the law. And this is with a pair of OC-192s into this campus.

  31. @29 The university hosting will never happen. All those kids on the campuses downloading free stuff? Heck, I’m sitting in a state library right now and security comes around and sees what you’re doing they’re so worried about bandwidth and the law. And this is with a pair of OC-192s into this campus.

  32. There are plenty of potential business models for Wikipedia that wouldn’t impact its neutrality, including grass roots fundraising by selling t-shirts and other swag that people could buy to make a contribution.

  33. There are plenty of potential business models for Wikipedia that wouldn’t impact its neutrality, including grass roots fundraising by selling t-shirts and other swag that people could buy to make a contribution.

  34. @31,

    Nos that is a good idea. I like it. The less that goes corporate, the better. I hate big business with a passion and the greed it represents. Wikipedia is one of the few Internet destinations besides craigslist that I use regularly. Craigslist is corporate, but they truly do it right. They haven’t sold out to ad vampires and other corporate scum wanting to make a buck.

  35. @31,

    Nos that is a good idea. I like it. The less that goes corporate, the better. I hate big business with a passion and the greed it represents. Wikipedia is one of the few Internet destinations besides craigslist that I use regularly. Craigslist is corporate, but they truly do it right. They haven’t sold out to ad vampires and other corporate scum wanting to make a buck.