Sunday, January 04, 2009

For Free Culture, Please Send Money To...

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales breathes a sigh of relief now that 6 million dollars has been pledged, PBS style, to keep the free online encyclopedia afloat until June--but please send more. Even better, if you try to donate a few bucks, you'll find that the suggested minimum donation is $30.

The Wiki project does not lend itself to the usual kinds of advertising:

[Even] companies like YouTube have had serious trouble trying to monetize user-generated content through advertising, and it's not hard to see why; what big-time brand wants to take a chance on appearing above unvetted and potentially libelous entries that could, at any moment, have key words replaced by terms for genitalia?
The obvious solution is to allow people and corporations to write their own entries (and have them protected from editing) for a fee, which hasn't been working well to-date. Or you might charge people for the right to edit, may $30/year or $100/life. Anyway, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

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