Wikipedia hit by economic downturn

It seems that lots of technology companies are being hit hard by the U.S.'s economic problems. This time it's Wikipedia and they are asking for a donation.

Wikipedia, founded in 2001, is a website developed to produce a free user-edited encyclopedia. When the Wikipedia Foundation launched as it's new parent corporation, the site emerged into a .org domain instead of the original .com, to put emphasis on being non-profit.

The site seems to be now having some troubles with keeping up with their traffic costs as Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has written a letter published to the Wikipedia Foundation's website.

"Your donation helps us in several ways. Most importantly, you will help us cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet. Funds also help us improve the software that runs Wikipedia -- making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for. We are committed to growing the free knowledge movement world-wide, by recruiting new volunteers, and building strategic partnerships with institutions of culture and learning," the letter states.

"I invite you to join us: Your donation will help keep Wikipedia free for the whole world," also says Wales in his letter.

Link: Wikipedia Donation Link
News source: iWinUX

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24 Comments

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I'm donating. I've been using Wikipedia for every single academic paper since 2002. Even when I'm not allowed to use Wikipedia, I still use it and simply cite other sources to not get in trouble. I love Wikipedia, and I see nothing wrong in helping it thrive.

You're both mistaken. Microsoft does a lot, and I mean a lot, for Charity. Look at how much money Bill gates has given to charities over the years. Yeah true, Microsoft is there to make money, but that's capitalism for you and like it or not, that's how business works, Microsoft just happens to be very good at it. Apple are the same, they just want to make money and do an exceptional job at it (Particularly the Charging a high-price part - at least Microsoft gives a LOT of stuff away for free, a quick look at their download centre is evidence of this, but I digress).

Wikipedia, on the other hand, isn't a business and what it offers is absolutely priceless, but they're not without fault. One does have to wonder where a lot of this money is going. They DO, however, need staff, it's absurd to think that a site that big can be run by just a few people, so don't say "wtf, that's a lot for salary!" because it does make sense.
There's also a lot more to Wikipedia than simply being a large multiplayer-notepad clone, they do other work as well, such as giving away DVDs with articles on them to children in poor countries that don't have net access. There's all sorts of publicity involved, but on the same note I think it's important to keep in mind that every single dollar that gets donated doesn't get wasted. The way I see it, for each $1 wasted, that's a child in a poor country missing out on a wealth of information that could change their life, so we the public have every right to scrutinize every single action they do with our donated money.

I think Wikipedia is one of the greatest things to come from the internet and I will support it as best I can, just like any member of the public that's ever edited an article to improve it. But on the same note, that means every member of the public that's ever donated to it (either via money, editing articles, moderating them, etc.) has a stake in how it's run.

I never cease to be amazed at the comments I see on these forums.

Thousands of positive fanboy comments supporting Microsoft's rights to do what they like - one of the richest companies on earth that never does anything without making a buck and charging a high price for it as well.

Yet here is an organisation that charges nothing for its services which a hell of a lot of the net community uses and it is being flamed for asking for DONATIONS to keep going????

Yes again Neowinians you amaze me !

Youre the only fanboy here ;)
Hosting other peoples article gives no right to throw donated money out of the window...
6 million $ for unneded employees, travelings and a bad coded site that needs 400 servers für serving 1k pages a second, multible office buildings and other money sinks...
Well.... lets close our eyes and open the money gates so they can do even dumber things with the cash...
Don't get me wrong... i love the wikipedia articles, and donating is ok... but the whole thing gets out of controll...

Agreed, $6,000,000 for investment in "new technologies" is a waste of donators hard earned cash. Is it really that they just can't think of something worthwhile to invest in....

Thats their fault... they try to build a company around wikipedia with different employees that wouldn't be needed...
Only renting a rack or a few servers would not cost that much...

Look at their 2007 expenses list.
Salary: 1,147,679
Hosting: 537,204
Traveling: 307,679
Operating: 952,019
Depreciation: 233,314
Other: 29,704

1 million salary
307k traveling
952k operation......

ehm... call for donation and push out the money as if you where a big healthy company?
now they wan't 6 million dollars from us...
wikipedia is a nice project... but the leaders are freaking out.
6 million to operate a few servers? and half a million for traveling around? sure ^^

less than a $1million in salaries and $0.3m isn't really that much - you can easily create that expense with only a few staff.

They don't need 30 managers *g*

They don't need to travel around for $307'679.
A datacenter and traffic/servers are sponsored by Yahoo and Google.
They don't need multible office buildings around the world.

They don't need 400+ multicore servers to serve 40'000 HTTP/GET requests a second (to serve images, css and not changing texts).
A typical wikipedia page creates about 30 requests, so 400 servers are only able to serve 1'333 pages per second?
Simply look at Tyler Projects (a facebook game provider)... they handle 3'000 hits with this machine "HP ML115 with 1GB of Ram 160GB on SATA0 (No RAID)"

What do they do with all this money? Now they beg for another $6'000'000... in 2009 another $15'000'000 ? soon they have 20'000 employees and a bigger datacenter than google ^^

But maybe it becomes like this, if a boy starts a project, invites his friends who know a little php and linux and know a bit about (SQL SELECT * FROM 'articles') as coders/managers. ;)

Maybe take thoose $6'000'000 and hire a real coder and a real networking guy and stop hiring even more executive staff and begging for bigger donations each and every year.

Wikipedia is really nice, but don't let it become a big money sink...

(bad english alert)

This isn't the first time they've asked for donations. It also isn't news either, as they've been asking for this $6M donation for a few months now.

Wikipedia has been raising the 6m for new technologies... the bandwidth was a very minor part, as stated on their website.

1) Wikipedia do this every year.
2) I don't see why they just don't put one advert on a page. They wouldn't even need to do their pledge drive then!

Majesticmerc said,
2) I don't see why they just don't put one advert on a page. They wouldn't even need to do their pledge drive then!

Because having adverts on the wiki page goes against every intention of its founder. Just watch any interview with the guy and you will understand what a great and generous man he is.

Dipso said,
Because having adverts on the wiki page goes against every intention of its founder. Just watch any interview with the guy and you will understand what a great and generous man he is.

I think it is time they will stop begging for donations and place adverts, it a way that won't damage the site too much.

Edit: Doh, I thought the fund drive was already finished and this was yet a request for donations. :S But I now see there's about 1/4th to go.

_tux_ said,
Don't they ask for donations every year?

I thought so. A look at their donation totaliser thing shows they are well over the $4m mark already so I don't think this donation thing is anything new.

Isn't the parent company called the "Wikimedia Foundation" not "Wikipedia Foundation"? It says so in the domain name and ALL over that site the link goes to.

Back on topic though, I've used Wikipedia countless times to research various topics so I feel it is a worthy cause. I'll be donating.

they want 6mil, is that the amount they need to cover a fiscal year or for long term spending venture on web traffic and site optimization?