Wikipedia asks you to donate (again)

We know you've seen it, those soul searching eyes of Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales staring back at you when you visit a Wiki page. Was it enough to make you donate? Probably not. However, it looks like Wikipedia is really feeling the financial crunch, as it's now resorting to emailing people who have previously donated to ask for more money.

It's respectable as Wikipedia has always been and appears to always plan to be advert free. As Jimmy Wales says himself, it's a "temple of the mind." However, it appears it's becoming unsustainable. The advertisements have been up for well over a month now, and they're getting desperate. Perhaps the internet isn't going to be thankful for Wikipedia until they actually disappear because they can't afford to run anymore.

In the email, Wales points out that Wikipedia is the 5th most popular website and servers over 470 million unique users every month. Impressive. Not only that, they run with just 95 staff and a measly 679 servers, which is an impressive feat in itself considering we can't remember the last time Wikipedia was actually offline.

"If everyone reading this donated $5, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year." Perhaps it's time we all got out our wallets and helped support these guys, before its too late.

Thanks Paul for the screenshot.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft Research releases Face Swap for Windows Phone

Next Story

Apple set to purchase Israeli NAND flash firm

45 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I had already donated at the beginning of this drive, and I just donated again just to spite the retards in the comments who were against donating for some deluded reason (seriously wtf?)

Its not about donating some for the hosting. Most people do donate to poors who dont have anything to eat, live on or even breath. But this guy can make a large fortune by putting ads. Whats stopping him?


Arthax said,
I had already donated at the beginning of this drive, and I just donated again just to spite the retards in the comments who were against donating for some deluded reason (seriously wtf?)

I havent, didnt, and will not ever donate.

Just put some ads. Who cares? Noone care's about Google's, Facebook's, or WLM's.

They are need of financial support not because they can't generate revenue, it is because they do not want to.

Why dont they ask the FSF? They will problably have a way as well....

Yea put some ads and make your bread out of it. Why begging to everyone? You'r losing your credibility by begging everyday

htcz said,
I havent, didnt, and will not ever donate.

Just put some ads. Who cares? Noone care's about Google's, Facebook's, or WLM's.

They are need of financial support not because they can't generate revenue, it is because they do not want to.

Why dont they ask the FSF? They will problably have a way as well....

They are anti-ads.

Well, I',m one of the persons who uses wiki a LOT. I bet there's a few thousand or million who use it daily basis for research. Who can donate, would be selfish not to.
I'm honestly without a job atm and it's getting almost impossible to find a job where I live, but once I can, i WILL donate again since I have done it in the past (less than 3 years ago).

From their "Financial plan" document on their website:

"hat said, in 2010 we began to see
indicators of banner and Jimmy fatigue expressed in mainstream and
social media. We interpret this as a warning: we expect donations to
continue strong growth, but a ceiling may be coming into view. And
we will need to find alternatives to over-utilization of Jimmy, in order
to preserve his appeal."

I'm glad they recognize this.

Also, they should perhaps come up with a plan to ask Educational institutions around the world to support them directly.

I donated for the 3rd time over 5 years prior to reading this, and has convinced 7 (so far) people to donate, either because I know they use wikipedia daily and are not ungrateful morons, or because I provided a small service myself that I normally wouldn't ask money for, instead asked that they donate 5$ to wikipedia.

I find it very sad to read that some people are selfish enough to continue to use a service provided for free without donating because they are annoyed at the mere request.

Like anything else, if you want to use the service, respect it and pay your due, or don't use it at all.

(I also want to say that I am fine with the people that don't donate because they honestly can't afford it. That is NOT most of wikipedia visitors financial situation. If you have a job, and do frequently use wikipedia like most people who will read this, then donate, all they need is 5$ for a year. See that as buying them a beer if it makes you feel better.)

Well said, I don't use daily. But I have donated anyways.

These people who said the ads banner are annoying probably don't donate yet or didn't go to survey after donation. They ask your opinion about the banners to choose the right banner!

They deserve support but they should stop begging when you click the (X) once at the top of the page and not show another "appeal" every day you visit a new article. That's as annoying as ads. And large long-term high quality contributors still don't get the "rewards".

I will not donate a dime. If Jimmy Wales org isn't running Wikipedia then it will be acquired by someone else and it will continue on just fine. Let's not pretend Wikipedia is THE only online encyclopedia.

KingCrimson said,
I will not donate a dime. If Jimmy Wales org isn't running Wikipedia then it will be acquired by someone else and it will continue on just fine. Let's not pretend Wikipedia is THE only online encyclopedia.
"acquired by someone else" ... Jimmy doesn't 'own' Wikipedia, he just founded it. It's run by a not-for-profit foundation. It doesn't make sense for them to be acquired.

No ads please.

Perhaps Wikipedia would be more successful in eliciting donations with a better marketing campaign. Having beardy, smug Jimmy Wales' longingly staring back from every page is definitely not working on me!

Everybody's different but if Wikipedia told me how much their monthly costs are, what their monthly income is, what they're doing to attract investment and what their business plan is then I might donate. I know the information is probably out there but I don't want to go looking for it. Why not make the Wikimedia Foundation a 'for-profit' business, selling various information, software and services (iPad/iPhone/Android apps, for example) and use the income to fund the core web-based Wikipedia and its sisters?

Garry said,
No ads please.

Perhaps Wikipedia would be more successful in eliciting donations with a better marketing campaign. Having beardy, smug Jimmy Wales' longingly staring back from every page is definitely not working on me!

Everybody's different but if Wikipedia told me how much their monthly costs are, what their monthly income is, what they're doing to attract investment and what their business plan is then I might donate. I know the information is probably out there but I don't want to go looking for it. Why not make the Wikimedia Foundation a 'for-profit' business, selling various information, software and services (iPad/iPhone/Android apps, for example) and use the income to fund the core web-based Wikipedia and its sisters?

Wow, it took me forever to find this! /s

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports

Simple search of "how much does it cost to run wikipedia" brought up some interesting results:

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/qu...x?qid=20091220040816AAsVGCr
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_...es_it_cost_to_run_Wikipedia
http://answers.yahoo.com/quest...x?qid=20101217165429AAx8sto
http://answers.yahoo.com/quest...x?qid=20111205212949AAnhbvj

I bet they will at some point introduce 'Wikipedia Premium' for a monthly fee. They might be forced to do that, as people are very selfish these days. They really don't want to donate their money to a cause that needs it. A shame really.

I personally use Wikipedia a lot, think it's one of the greatest Internet services at present (#2 with Google search being #1) and will donate.

I will NOT donate. You don't ask people to donate. you encourage them, This is akin to internet begging. sorry, no.

ozgeek said,
I will NOT donate. You don't ask people to donate. you encourage them, This is akin to internet begging. sorry, no.

How do you define 'encouragement' vs. 'asking'? They say they need the money, they're not begging - no money, no Wikipedia - donate if you want - personal choice.

ozgeek said,
I will NOT donate. You don't ask people to donate. you encourage them, This is akin to internet begging. sorry, no.

Wikipedia being online should be encouragement enough if you use it.

Disclaimer: I haven't donated, because I can't afford to at this time of year.

Breach said,
They say they need the money

Which is same as beggng.

Begging = asking others for money or items without earning it themselves.

ozgeek said,

Which is same as beggng.

Begging = asking others for money or items without earning it themselves.

No they do earn it. If it was just a blank page saying we need your money that would be not earning it. But providing a free encyclopedia is earning it.

ozgeek said,

Begging = asking others for money or items without earning it themselves.

They provide a service, thereby earning it. If you decide not to use it, then don't. If you do, then you should donate. Simple.

ozgeek said,
I will NOT donate. You don't ask people to donate. you encourage them, This is akin to internet begging. sorry, no.
ozgeek, you're an idiot.

Dot Matrix said,
I can barely afford to put food on my *own* table, and currently have no job.

Then get off Neowin, find a job and quit complaining.

Fred 69 said,

Then get off Neowin, find a job and quit complaining.

Easier said than done. The point was that many don't have the funds to donate.

Phuk0ff said,
I donated after reading this.

Wish they had a way to make those banners disappear once you have donated though. I've done it twice and I still get a random guy who apparently contributed > 2000 articles still staring back at me and it creeps me out.

Then why not put some adverts on there or go freemium? sheesh ,they must get millions of hits every months, I'm sure a few adverts won't hurt. Free things don't last very long, and if they do it isn't that good. Just look at firefox.

Wikipedia deserves the donations, but it shows how people believe everything grows on magic trees and there's a magical thing called free service and "I shouldn't have to be burdened on my OWN ISP to display those horrid ads on that free service you set up for me" /rant

Neobond said,
Wikipedia deserves the donations, but it shows how people believe everything grows on magic trees and there's a magical thing called free service and "I shouldn't have to be burdened on my OWN ISP to display those horrid ads on that free service you set up for me" /rant

So soon we will be seeing at the top of every Neowin page "Please read: A personal appeal from Neowin founder Neo Bond"

flexkeyboard said,
Then why not put some adverts on there or go freemium? sheesh ,they must get millions of hits every months, I'm sure a few adverts won't hurt. Free things don't last very long, and if they do it isn't that good. Just look at firefox.

When you start allowing advertisements, you let a third party be the source of your income. That means, as long as you want to keep making money from them, they can set rules. This is counterproductive to a free encyclopedia.

billyea said,

When you start allowing advertisements, you let a third party be the source of your income. That means, as long as you want to keep making money from them, they can set rules. This is counterproductive to a free encyclopedia.

That's reality. Saying advertisers can set rules is an overreaction - sure they can if you let them to. Wikipedia does not depend on 1-3 advertisers however and can always just say no. If they still are short on funding then they can go back to the usual fundraisers.

flexkeyboard said,
Then why not put some adverts on there or go freemium? sheesh ,they must get millions of hits every months, I'm sure a few adverts won't hurt. Free things don't last very long, and if they do it isn't that good. Just look at firefox.

I agree. I wouldn't mind seeing advertisements on their site pertaining to the topic your reading about.
Wikipedia is a very important resource of information.

yowan said,
They really deserve some support

Put it this way really, They don't advertise and they want to keep it that way. So I guess the only way really to keep Wikipedia up is offer something good via a subscription service or by donations, if they don't get the donations they need to keep running then I guess they will eventually have no choice but to show ads.