How Wikipedia Can Make Money

2009/03/08 at 10:47 am (Article)

Wikipedia is a free to use, free to edit online encyclopedia. This is a not-for-profit organization and so does not make money commercially from the website. The website is wholly made by the readers,since anybody can edit the pages. Though vandalism has been an issue, it has been minor considering the fact that thanks to sensible additions, Wikipedia today has millions of pages catering to almost all possible topics in more than 123 languages. This has made it the primary reference to the readers who search the internet for information.

This article discusses some possible ways by which Wikipedia can probably try to monetize. Managing such a large website is not only a Himalayan task for the organization, but also a moral responsibility as the selfless work of millions of its users have also gone into it.

The first possible avenue is what most webmasters naturally take; that of advertisements. Wikipedia could possibly take the services of Google to let its advertisers to display their advertisements on Wikipedia. Wikipedia could certainly be considered a special publisher since the Adwords campaigns could certainly expect an increase in the bid amounts for clicks. This is because, Wikipedia easily outnumbers most of the Adsense publishers in the number of impressions that their webpages receive.Hence the advertisers would certainly relish their advertisements being shown on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia can discard this idea if it feels showing advertisements can feel the users less satisfied.

The second possible avenue is analog publishing. Just like Encyclopedia Brittanica, Wikipedia can expect to publish their collections in a book format. Wikipedia content keeps changing massively with every passing day. So, publishing yearly editions could also help Wikipedia fanatics to keep track of how much their site has grown through the period.

One issue that can pop up with this avenue is that users might feel their hardwork is being used for profit by a select few at the helm. Wikipedia can resolve this by counting the value of the contributors by the number of hits their new page has garnered, or how the relevancy of their edition on an existing page is treated in the discussions page. Wikipedia certainly has great people to devise a method, should such an idea be infact mooted.

The third is a modification of its existing Donation method. Wikipedia can use the donations rather as an investment. And this be used by Wikipedia to build the site and monetize through the other methods. And the donators be fittingly rewarded by a corresponding percentage through which the site has infact grown. Say, the ‘donator’ contributes $100. And Wikipedia makes a 20 percent growth. Pay 15 percent dividend to the ‘donator’. Let Wikipedia keep the remaining 5 percent to itself. This will keep everyone in the circle happy.

All being said and done, Wikipedia has done amazingly well in its growth as a free non-profit website. Those who first mooted the idea would be happy to remain so. This article was only for the lesser human beings like you and me.

By Anand Srinivasan,

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