Talk:Advertising on Wikipedia

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I really don't like the idea of advertising in a place like this made with the work of so many people. I cannot think of a single way to guarantee that it will not be used for personal profit or for Bomis' profit. Nor I see how can you guarantee the "ethics" of the advertisments in the long term. I understand that part of the software may need some kind of continuous support, but that can be handled very much in the way other free software projects are handled, and they do not involve advertising.

You talk about raising money. Have you explored the possibilities of sponsorship? This means usually a single link somewhere to the list of sponsors and is totally non intrusive.

-- Gonis (in spanish wikipedia)


You have a couple of comments in english in the spanish wikipedia (which is almost stoped after a really big development because of this advertisment issue) in this page


It is understandable that an undertaking like this needs some funds to sustain itself, and at this point I certainly have no firm opinion about whether advertising is needed. I do think, however, that there is a discussion which needs to take place before resolving the one on advertising, that is, budgetting for Wikipedia. If that can be done, if wikipedians know exactly what the expenses are and how much money is needed, and if they can somehow develop a way of arriving at a consensus about these matters, they will have found a solution to what is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges in operating a democratic process.

Too often with internet ventures, both capitalist and non-capitalist, we can be faced with funding demands about which members had no previous idea. In many of these circumstances when the demand is made the leadership has already put the venture into a crisis, and only the unpleasant solutions remain available. A short practical question that could come out of this discussion might be: "Why should we suffer advertising that is any more intrusive than necessary for the funds that are needed?

If you think this debate should come under a better title, I'm receptive to having it moved there. Eclecticology


Larger projects have operated solely off of donations and volunteer work. Think of any of the big open source software projects like Mozilla or Linux.


I have an idea....[edit]

I have a feeling I may not be the first person to suggest this, but... Would it be completely unacceptable for Wikipedia to serve advertisements to raise funds? I have donated money to support Wikipedia, and will probably do so again, but in the meantime I wouldn't have a problem with occasional banner ads, or Google AdWords, if it was raising money supporting Wiki. My idea was to implement such a thing, turned off by default, such that people intentionally TURN ON ads as a way to send money towards the project. If this is an idea that has been suggested and shot down already, please forgive me, as I'm still relatively new here. Cheers!

--Randyoo 23:07, 25 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Well, Jimbo has said on the mailing list that Wikipedia will never accept ads--I don't know how your idea about turning ads off by default would change that, but don't hold your breath. Good thought, though, and thanks very much for your time and your money. Yours, Meelar 23:09, 25 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
The only ad I'd be willing to see is one on the main page advertising a hard copy or cd/dvd release of Wikipedia. Community portal could get away with a small ad for Wikipedia merchandise ("Wikipedia the flamethrower. Kids love it."). No ads on article pages, it'd probably violate NPOV anyway. -- Cyrius|&#9998 00:00, May 26, 2004 (UTC)
(only partially kidding here) It only violates NPOV if the ad in question is in any way relevant to the article. We'd need the very opposite of Google's targeted ads - so if you're browsing Zionism you get ads for Snorlax toys, if you're edit-warring in Mark Rothko you see ads for diodes, you're checking for the melting point of manganese and you're getting ads for holidays in Rakhigarhi. We call them "surrealverisments" and charge more for the stranger the juxtaposition. We'll make meeellions of (or perhaps several) dollars. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk
I don't see why it would be a problem to have POV ads in Wikipedia. It's clear by now to everyone that Google provides said ads, that they are generated automatically based on the context, and that they are not in any way part of the article. As long as the article itself is NPOV, what's the problem? If you're stupid enough not to recognise Google Adwords, you probably do not understand Wikipedia either. And maybe, just maybe, it would raise enough money to get the search function working again. Wyllium 17:47, 2004 May 27 (UTC)
Bizarre. You seem to show a touching naivety with regard to the effectiveness and evil of advertising whilst assuming a high level of awareness amongst Wikipedia users. Remember, not all Wikipedia visitors are editors. There will be many who arrive here because of a high Google ranking on their subject of interest. In such an instance a related ad on the page could be seen as an endorsement. --bodnotbod 18:29, May 27, 2004 (UTC)
I don't remember seeing a killer argument against ads for those who choose to have them on (but remember they have to be clicked for WP to benefit). Mailing list archives is probably best to look for this dicusssion. Minimal history: Jimbo once seemed somewhat open to the idea of ads, but this caused the Spanish WP to fork. More recently he has seemed much less keen. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 00:50, 26 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
We'd have to change from the free encyclopedia to the sponsored encyclopedia and throw NPOV out the door. Dori | Talk 00:58, May 26, 2004 (UTC)
I think you could limit the dependence on the advertiser by not using all the money you get through ads at once. Instead only use half the money and put the rest of the money into a bridge-fund. This way there will be time to look for other solutions, in case the advertiser decides to stop advertising or changes its conditions in an inacceptable manner. --Ados 10:48, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I encountered yet another mirror today, which is complete lookalike of Wikipedia, though images are missing. See [1] I quote Eloquence "There's plenty of these mirrors, most of them end up serving Wikipedia content with ads". Since we don't seem to care too much about those that do not follow our rules, and let them make a lot of money over our backs (it must be a lot given the huge number of pages they have on offer and the fact they often rank higher than the real thing in Google), this made me think: maybe we should start an unoffical mirror ourselves that serves ads, with proper attribution etc, which might channel some money to WikiMedia. I'm not sure how much money it would bring in, but it might take some load of our servers. It would be a read-only copy, refreshed say every week after dump have been made (some mirrors show content which is 6 months old), and which channels all edits to the real Wikipedia. Being unoffical it would not cause any forks, I'm sure. Just brainstorming. Anyway Wikipedia needs some drastic measures to improve and sustain performance. Erik Zachte 01:13, 26 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Seems like a great idea to me. Of course I'm new here and may not quite understand how things work, but this seems like something that will give us the money we need and still work with our rules. --IYY 02:41, 26 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
Seems worth considering, the WP will constantly need new hardware etc to cope with increasing demand. The wikipedis keeps having annual (and very frustrating) slowdowns when the present set of servers etc cant cope with demand and new ones have to be bought and added. If it was properly funded we wouldent keep having these problems. Although it would have to be done in a way which didn't affect editorial independence G-Man 12:20, 26 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
This made me think, and I realised that one of the reasons I keep coming back to Wikipedia everyday - is this notion that somehow it is sacred and outside the big, bad world of commercial merchandise. Here is a true university of sorts, which truly represents the free world. Allowing ads would be a huge step backwards from where we stand today. Hardware requirements/Monetary pressures ? - Yes, but there are some notions which absolutely do not deserve mind-space and this suggestion ranks right on top. I am so fanatic about this point, that I would not like Wikimedia to even consider charging through a mirror-site. As an aside, I thought when we appealed for help in January (that's when we got yanked out for 2-3 days), the requirements were met in no time. As we keep being as good as we are - infact surpassing ourselves with every passing month, funding through voluntary contributions is going to get easier, is my two pence. Of course, I am only vaguely aware of our current financial situation and I am not very sure about the hardware status (though I know that 4 new servers are being tested today at MediaWiki). Chancemill 15:53, May 27, 2004 (UTC)
At the moment it seems to be accepted that donations can pay for the Wikipedia. Worth following that route to the extent it's practical. If ads do seem necessary sometime, one relatively unobtrusive option is to serve Google AdWords at the bottom of the left column but with a check box just below the ad which drops a cookie saying "don't show the ads". Let anyone who wants to click on that and stop seeing them. That would end up showing them to new people once and never again to anyone who dislikes them. New people are the ones who are both most likely to click on an ad link and least likely to be bothered by one they can easily turn off. But this probably isn't the route to take right now, until we know that donations aren't sufficient. Jamesday 01:31, 28 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Alternate funding sources[edit]

Here are some possible ideas for alternate funding sources:

  • Donations -- we do this now
  • Private grants from foundations interested in education or other liberal virtues
  • Government grants (fear!)
  • Statutory copyright-infringement damages from hoodlums who copy and commercially redistribute Wikipedia content without attribution and in other ways violating copyright law and the license.

External links[edit]