Answers archive/December 2011

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Finance: The difference between charging for services and asking for donations

What's the difference between selling Wikipedia and asking for donations? Are the projects really "free" if you ask for money from people who read it?

The Wikimedia Foundation's core mission is to encourage the growth, development and distribution of educational materials and to provide these to the public free of charge. The Foundation does not want to limit access to these educational resources to those who can afford to pay and are in fact always looking for more ways to get the information out there, even to people who do not have access to the internet. The difference between asking for donations and charging for Wikipedia and the other projects is that the donor model allows the Foundation to gather enough revenue to continue offering the projects without requiring payment. People can contribute financially if they are able and so inclined, but if they are not in position to pay can continue to access the resources for free. --Maggie Dennis 14:55, 7 December 2011 (UTC)


Foundation: Where does the Foundation stand on the "Stop Online Piracy Act"?

Because the Wikimedia Foundation is based in the United States, it is subject to U.S. law, and the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act has caused a lot of conversation amongst the volunteers who support our projects. The Foundation has been asked by several to clarify its position on the bill, and today General Counsel Geoff Brigham released a statement on the Wikimedia Foundation blog detailing some of his thoughts about it and its potential impact. --Maggie Dennis 20:28, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


Finance: Why don't you advertise?

The Wikimedia Foundation is occasionally asked why it doesn't turn to advertising to raise the money it needs.

The Foundation is not against the world of online advertising or against other organizations that host ads, but it does not believe that advertising belongs in a project devoted to education, particularly one that is driven by the values consistent with a balanced, neutral encyclopedia. The global volunteer community has always felt that advertising would have a major effect on our ability to stay neutral and that ultimately ads would weaken the readers' overall confidence in the articles they are reading. Even if advertisers put no pressure on us to slant articles to their favor, readers may fear that they exert an influence, consciously or otherwise.

In addition, the Foundation has strong views about reader privacy. Current models for web advertising are inconsistent with these, particularly contextual advertising, which reads the content you are viewing. The Foundation also thinks it intrusive to deliver ads to readers based on their geography.

If you'd like to read more about the history of discussions about advertising Wikipedia - including both pros and cons - the volunteer community has written a page about it at Wikipedia:Advertisements. --Maggie Dennis 18:52, 21 December 2011 (UTC)