A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

metasj

On Mon, 23 Apr 2007, Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> On 4/23/07, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> There is lots of empty screen space on the left, below the interwiki
>> links.  Text-only boxes that match the color scheme are only minimally
>> distracting.  I'm vaguely uncomfortable with putting ads up, but I
>> think it could be done in ways that are minimally invasive.

From an aesthetic standpoint, I am extremely uncomfortable with this.
Empty screen space means something teerribly valuable that we should do
good things with, not an excuse to clutter pages with random text.

> and I hate to say it, but my personal view is that  adwords would
> likely be more useful and relevant to many readers than the external
> links sections on many of enwiki's articles.

I'm awfully sorry you feel this way, Greg.  I don't think this is anywhere
near the truth, myself.  Even in those rare cases where your comment here
is appropriate, the nice thing about external links sections is that they
improve over time, eventually becoming brilliant; when you see an ad, you
can remove it.

> It certainly would be nice if we had a good model for operational
> sustainability, but with individual donations as a function of
> pageviews decreasing

Cost per pageview also decreases with scale.  And we've drastically cut
back on the frequency of fundraising drives since they began, if you're
going to use "the last two instances represent a trend" arguments.
The project as originally conceived is only becoming more scalably
supportable by donations alone.

Please distinguish "we are looking for money because we want to grow and
expand our mission" from "our initial project is sustainable solely on the
strength of voluntary donations".  The latter statement remains true and
is a tremendous statement to make to the world; one of the real gifts of
Wikipedia as a movement and not just as a project.  Please do not hide
that important statement about sustainability and human nature for the
sake of winning an argument.

> and no reasonable expectation of increasing growth allowing us to reach
> lower incremental costs of growth (we're already paying rock bottom
> prices for bandwidth and hardware),

This should not be true.  If it is, the people who know details of our
incremental growth costs should make them more widely available so that we
can discuss this in specific.  We should be able to get much better rates
on hardware and bandwidth through in-kind sponsorship if nothing else; and
are we even getting either of them at cost?

> we *will* need to get creative ... maybe if we intend to keep running at
> all.

I did not expect FUD from you.  Do you have any specific reason to worry
about keeping running at all?  If so, it has been over a quarter since the
last fund drive, and we could certainly start another one to cover basic
operations, with specific reasons and transparency.

SJ

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
On 23/04/07, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> As a final thought, I think movement in this should be very careful,
> paced, considered and deliberate, and even after the site went up, I
> find it provable that for a long time the .org side would quite easily
> dominate the popular imagination.


Media articles seem to have learnt the live site exists at
wikipedia.org rather than wikipedia.com in the last year ... worse
luck.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Jean-Baptiste Soufron-2
On 23/04/07, Jean-Baptiste Soufron <[hidden email]> wrote:

> And you will really put an end to the beautiful experience that it was.


It's a beautiful experience if you can access the content at all. This
is precisely what I mean when talking about comfortable, well-fed
first-world citizens (such as you or I) who can treat access to
Wikimedia sites as a convenience.

Again, I ask for details of the opposition from those not in this demographic.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Brianna Laugher
On 23/04/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 23/04/07, Jean-Baptiste Soufron <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > And you will really put an end to the beautiful experience that it was.
>
>
> It's a beautiful experience if you can access the content at all. This
> is precisely what I mean when talking about comfortable, well-fed
> first-world citizens (such as you or I) who can treat access to
> Wikimedia sites as a convenience.

So, do we in fact need ads (or other income streams) to keep the sites
live or not? David seems to be suggesting we do. Others have suggested
we do not.

Guilting us into accepting ads based on scaremongering of "the sites
might go down" is one thing. Rationalising that we could use
squillions of cash to buy back copyrights and pay for content writers,
etc, is another. So - ?

Jean-Baptiste is right, that Wikimedia is a nice oasis. So is that a
first-world conceit that doesn't mean much, or if we were to introduce
ads might we not all lament it in five, 20 years when we see the
Foundation wasn't going to collapse, after all?

regards,
Brianna
user:pfctdayelise

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

David Gerard-2
On 23/04/07, Brianna Laugher <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So, do we in fact need ads (or other income streams) to keep the sites
> live or not? David seems to be suggesting we do. Others have suggested
> we do not.


I'm suggesting we might find it very useful indeed, rather than living
hand-to-mouth as we do now.

Of course, it might stimulate serious thought to securing other
revenue streams, as it seems to be doing, to stave off such an
unaesthetic idea.


> Jean-Baptiste is right, that Wikimedia is a nice oasis. So is that a
> first-world conceit that doesn't mean much, or if we were to introduce
> ads might we not all lament it in five, 20 years when we see the
> Foundation wasn't going to collapse, after all?


Not just the possibility of failure, but the possibility of not doing
nearly as well on our mission as we could. "To educate everyone with a
broadband connection" is not entirely convincing.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Titoxd@Wikimedia
You do have to consider whether irritating a non-negligible portion of the
content-writing community will help us accomplish our mission better,
though. As I pointed out to Gmaxwell on IRC yesterday, yes, there may be
only a few "loud" (for lack of a better word) users that completely oppose
advertising, but if they distribute their message properly and play their
cards right, you could be talking about an Enciclopedia Libre-type of split.
Wikipedia's advantage, at least on the English Wikipedia, is that it is THE
Wikipedia, and a fork claiming that they're the descendent of the NPOV
policy or some other claim may come back to hurt us in the longer term.
Titoxd.

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Gerard
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 1:09 AM
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

On 23/04/07, Brianna Laugher <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So, do we in fact need ads (or other income streams) to keep the sites
> live or not? David seems to be suggesting we do. Others have suggested
> we do not.


I'm suggesting we might find it very useful indeed, rather than living
hand-to-mouth as we do now.

Of course, it might stimulate serious thought to securing other
revenue streams, as it seems to be doing, to stave off such an
unaesthetic idea.


> Jean-Baptiste is right, that Wikimedia is a nice oasis. So is that a
> first-world conceit that doesn't mean much, or if we were to introduce
> ads might we not all lament it in five, 20 years when we see the
> Foundation wasn't going to collapse, after all?


Not just the possibility of failure, but the possibility of not doing
nearly as well on our mission as we could. "To educate everyone with a
broadband connection" is not entirely convincing.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Andre Engels
In reply to this post by metasj
2007/4/23, SJ Klein <[hidden email]>:

> > and I hate to say it, but my personal view is that  adwords would
> > likely be more useful and relevant to many readers than the external
> > links sections on many of enwiki's articles.
>
> I'm awfully sorry you feel this way, Greg.  I don't think this is anywhere
> near the truth, myself.  Even in those rare cases where your comment here
> is appropriate, the nice thing about external links sections is that they
> improve over time, eventually becoming brilliant; when you see an ad, you
> can remove it.

Well, I tested it, doing a 'Random page' several times, and checking
the first 10 that had external links. They were all checked in
intervals of three months

1. [[John Addey]]

October 2005: Three links, two advertizing, one non-advertizing but
irrelevant. Apparently added by someone who did not know how to link
externally
January 2006, April 2006, July 2006, October 2006, January 2007: no change
now: Same links, but as proper external links.

Conclusion: Advertisement, not changing over time

2. [[Kay Hammond (American actress)]]

now: One link to IMDB

Conclusion: No advertisement, too young to talk about time difference

3. [[Goldeen]]

October 2006: 7 links. 6 seemed ok, the seventh one doesn't load
January 2007, now: no change

Conclusion: No advertisement but probably over-linked. Not changing over time.

4. [[Brewer's Blackbird]]

January 2004: No links
upto July 2005: No change
October 2005: One link, mildly advertising
January 2006: Link removed as 'linkspam'
upto October 2006: No change
January 2007: 3 non-advertising links
Now: No change

Conclusion: Managed without links quite long, but the ones that are
there now are fine. Advertising control has been done, although
probably only because the advertiser was overdoing it.

5. [[Darrick Martin]]

April 2006: Two links, not advertising (although commercial websites)
July 2006: No change
October 2006: One added link, not advertising (but overlap with existing links)
January 2007, now: No change

Conclusion: Ok

6. [[Wanderer (sailing dinghy)]]

January 2006: Two links, one of them advertisement
April, July, October 2006, July 2007: No change
Now: One added link, advertisement

Conclusion: Advertisement link stays on for a long time - so long that
apparently the only one who noticed that there was one was a
competitor who reacted by adding their own link as well.

7. [[Bommenede]]
October 2006: One link, non-advertisement
January 2007, now: No change

8. [[Dens (anatomy)]]
October 2006: 5 links, non-advertisement
January 2007, now: No change

9. [[Isihia]]
July 2006: 1 link, non-advertisement
October 2006, January 2007, now: No change

10. [[Cathedral and John Connon School]]
October 2005: 1 link, non-advertisement
January 2006: No change
April 2006: 2 more links, non-advertisement
July 2006: 1 more link, non-advertisement (but not very good link either)
October 2006, January 2007, now: No change


On the good side of things, there seem to be not very much
advertisement. Out of 31 links on these articles, 5 were
advertisements.

On the bad side of things, of the 5 advertisements only 1 got deleted.
I doubt whether they were ever actually checked on being
non-advertising and relevant. The one that did get deleted was the
least blatant advertising, but got deleted because the site was being
spammed. Apparently it is allowed to advertize on one or two Wikipedia
pages, but not to do it on 100.

Finally, none of these subjects seem to be among subjects likely to
get advertisements - only [[Wanderer (sailing dinghy)]] is about
something that can be sold.

--
Andre Engels, [hidden email]
ICQ: 6260644  --  Skype: a_engels

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Andre Engels
In reply to this post by Titoxd@Wikimedia
2007/4/23, Titoxd@Wikimedia <[hidden email]>:
> You do have to consider whether irritating a non-negligible portion of the
> content-writing community will help us accomplish our mission better,
> though. As I pointed out to Gmaxwell on IRC yesterday, yes, there may be
> only a few "loud" (for lack of a better word) users that completely oppose
> advertising, but if they distribute their message properly and play their
> cards right, you could be talking about an Enciclopedia Libre-type of split.
> Wikipedia's advantage, at least on the English Wikipedia, is that it is THE
> Wikipedia, and a fork claiming that they're the descendent of the NPOV
> policy or some other claim may come back to hurt us in the longer term.

Perhaps, but in the end our goal is not to keep Wikipedia and
Wikimedia floating, but to get knowledge out into the world. And that
goal might well be served as good or even better by a forked Wikipedia
than by a single monolithic one. That's a big 'might' though, and the
effect might very well be negative, but I would not want to rule out
positive effects in advance.

--
Andre Engels, [hidden email]
ICQ: 6260644  --  Skype: a_engels

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Delphine Ménard
In reply to this post by Kat Walsh-4
On 4/23/07, Kat Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 4/22/07, Kat Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 4/22/07, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > I like this idea. I think wikipedia.com could be an excellent place to
> > > have a page of the type:
> > >
> > > "Welcome to Wikipedia.
> > >
> > > Wikipedia is not like other web companies out there. [a bit of
> > > passionate text about what makes us different] Now, if you want to
> > > read Wikipedia content, please go to .. If you want to support
> > > Wikipedia, please go to .."
> > >
> > > This would allow us to retain redirects from article URLs as well.
> >
> > I'd support doing that right away unless there's a good reason not to,
> > actually. :-)
> >
> > -Kat
>
> And here's a draft to get started with:
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia.com_draft


YAY!

This is a step in the right direction. I know the German and French
chapters have been thinking for a while about such portals for
wikipedia.de and wikipedia.fr for example. This is definitely a very
important move towards communicating the right message.

Thanx Erik and Kat.

Delphine
--
~notafish
NB. This address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails sent to
this address will probably get lost.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

daniwo59
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
 
In a message dated 4/23/2007 12:54:50 AM Eastern Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

The  project as originally conceived is only becoming more scalably
supportable  by donations alone.



This is quite an assertion. Do you have any evidence for this? Is this  based
on an analysis of costs and growth? Or is this just an assumption?
 
Danny



************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

SJ-5
On 4/23/07, [hidden email] <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In a message dated 4/23/2007 12:54:50 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> [hidden email] writes:
>
> The  project as originally conceived is only becoming more scalably
> supportable  by donations alone.
>
> This is quite an assertion. Do you have any evidence for this? Is this  based
> on an analysis of costs and growth? Or is this just an assumption?

What I mean is, the cost of hosting per page-view has dropped
tremendously, and we still have a ways to go there.  Someone should
compare pageviews to ambient donations absent a sitenotice.

There are further magnitudes of scale to be realized, and a ways to go
before it is actually simple and natural for site visitors to realize
the site is supported by donations, or make a donation. For instance,
as has been raised dozens of times in the past, there should be some
highlighting of "Donate" / "faire un don" / "Dary pieniężne" on the
default skin, so that people who would love to donate, but don't know
we have such a link, are able to support to the project.

SJ
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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Brianna Laugher
On 23/04/07, SJ <[hidden email]> wrote:
> There are further magnitudes of scale to be realized, and a ways to go
> before it is actually simple and natural for site visitors to realize
> the site is supported by donations, or make a donation. For instance,
> as has been raised dozens of times in the past, there should be some
> highlighting of "Donate" / "faire un don" / "Dary pieniężne" on the
> default skin, so that people who would love to donate, but don't know
> we have such a link, are able to support to the project.

You don't think "Donate" link on the sidebar - for EVERYONE - and
"Your [http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising continued
donations] keep Wikipedia running!" permanent anon sitenotice, are
obvious?

cheers,
Brianna
user:pfctdayelise
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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

David Gerard-2
On 23/04/07, Brianna Laugher <[hidden email]> wrote:

> You don't think "Donate" link on the sidebar - for EVERYONE - and
> "Your [http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising continued
> donations] keep Wikipedia running!" permanent anon sitenotice, are
> obvious?


Nah. They need to whirl and flash and take over the mouse and keyboard
and install a Trojan keylogger to get your credit card details.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

David Gerard-2
On 23/04/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 23/04/07, Brianna Laugher <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > You don't think "Donate" link on the sidebar - for EVERYONE - and
> > "Your [http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising continued
> > donations] keep Wikipedia running!" permanent anon sitenotice, are
> > obvious?

> Nah. They need to whirl and flash and take over the mouse and keyboard
> and install a Trojan keylogger to get your credit card details.


An open source one, of course, preferable under the GPL. The README
should include email addresses so that users of other wiki software
can still have their credit cards ransacked if they send in the
details.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

> On 23/04/07, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> non-profit way? I find it, for lack of a better word, asinine to
>> justify ads with all the great things we could do if we had money.
>> Shouldn't we have a much better idea of what these great things are
>> _before_ we try to get more money?
>
>
> Think of the ad money, think of things to do with it, then add them to the list!
>
> (where's the list?)
>
>
> - d.

CAIAPHAS:
Think of the things you can do with that money
Choose any charity - give to the poor
We've noted your motives - we've noted your feelings
This isn't blood money - it's a fee nothing
Fee nothing, fee nothing more.


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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by SJ-5
On 4/23/07, SJ <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What I mean is, the cost of hosting per page-view has dropped
> tremendously, and we still have a ways to go there.

I don't believe that we have any concrete plans which will decrease
our cost per view any further. There are some possibilities, but we
are not exploring them at this time.

I am also concerned that the increased use of multimedia content will
continue to drive an increase in cost per view which could only be
offset by the most aggressive cost reducing strategies possible.

>Someone should
> compare pageviews to ambient donations absent a sitenotice.

Yes, well, the ratio of donations to views has had a long term
downward trend as a function of views.  This is my cause for concern.

> There are further magnitudes of scale to be realized, and a ways to go
> before it is actually simple and natural for site visitors to realize
> the site is supported by donations, or make a donation. For instance,
> as has been raised dozens of times in the past, there should be some
> highlighting of "Donate" / "faire un don" / "Dary pieniężne" on the
> default skin, so that people who would love to donate, but don't know
> we have such a link, are able to support to the project.

Well there is the anon-notice on enwiki...

There *is* much we can do to improve donations, but they don't have
much to do with scale. They have to do with our approach towards
donors and our followup with past donors, and many other places where
we do not do well compared to other charities.
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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Judson Dunn-2
I'm not opposed to having opt-out advertising on wikipedia.org, but I
don't really understand why we would want to dilute our url structure
and pagerank on *every* term by creating a weird commercial non-fork.

If people are concerned about ads being bad then you shouldn't have
ads anywhere.

If people are concerned about making too much money (a legitimate
concern I think) then just put ads on some pages, or throttle the ads
with ads for non-profits, or with nothing. Google does this already
now, I'm sure they would be willing to work with us.

I really don't think it's a good idea to split the domains. URL
authoritativeness is one of the key benefits of wikipedia, that it
allows for a somewhat authoritative link to almost anything. I don't
see the benefit of taking this away. Opt-out is better, heck opt-in is
better. There is no reason to mess with the url.

This issue is in addition to what Erik brings up, do we really want a
distinction between the editable and not editable? Why? "The
encyclopedia that anyone can edit, right after you navigate to a very
similiar but not exact url"?

Judson
[[:en:User:Cohesion]]

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

David Gerard-2
On 23/04/07, cohesion <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm not opposed to having opt-out advertising on wikipedia.org, but I
> don't really understand why we would want to dilute our url structure
> and pagerank on *every* term by creating a weird commercial non-fork.


What use is pagerank to us?


> If people are concerned about making too much money (a legitimate
> concern I think) then just put ads on some pages, or throttle the ads
> with ads for non-profits, or with nothing. Google does this already
> now, I'm sure they would be willing to work with us.


If they aren't, Overture will. Or MSN ads.


> This issue is in addition to what Erik brings up, do we really want a
> distinction between the editable and not editable? Why? "The
> encyclopedia that anyone can edit, right after you navigate to a very
> similiar but not exact url"?


Stable versions would create much the same thing, though.


- d.

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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Titoxd@Wikimedia
Hoi,
When a Encyclpaedia-libre kinda split is isolated to one or two projects, it
makes little difference. It might be akin to Citizendium .. They run the
danger of getting isolated in their own little world, their own little
language, their own ideology.

When people are loud, it does not mean that they have what it takes to start
a project of such a size and complexity. Also, having more projects working
on Free content is not a bad thing. If this is what it takes to move
forward, to explore avenues that would otherwise be closed .. I see more
advantages than disadvantages.
Thanks,
     GerardM

On 4/23/07, Titoxd@Wikimedia < [hidden email]> wrote:

>
> You do have to consider whether irritating a non-negligible portion of the
> content-writing community will help us accomplish our mission better,
> though. As I pointed out to Gmaxwell on IRC yesterday, yes, there may be
> only a few "loud" (for lack of a better word) users that completely oppose
> advertising, but if they distribute their message properly and play their
> cards right, you could be talking about an Enciclopedia Libre-type of
> split.
> Wikipedia's advantage, at least on the English Wikipedia, is that it is
> THE
> Wikipedia, and a fork claiming that they're the descendent of the NPOV
> policy or some other claim may come back to hurt us in the longer term.
> Titoxd.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email]
> [mailto: [hidden email]] On Behalf Of David
> Gerard
> Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 1:09 AM
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com
>
> On 23/04/07, Brianna Laugher <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > So, do we in fact need ads (or other income streams) to keep the sites
> > live or not? David seems to be suggesting we do. Others have suggested
> > we do not.
>
>
> I'm suggesting we might find it very useful indeed, rather than living
> hand-to-mouth as we do now.
>
> Of course, it might stimulate serious thought to securing other
> revenue streams, as it seems to be doing, to stave off such an
> unaesthetic idea.
>
>
> > Jean-Baptiste is right, that Wikimedia is a nice oasis. So is that a
> > first-world conceit that doesn't mean much, or if we were to introduce
> > ads might we not all lament it in five, 20 years when we see the
> > Foundation wasn't going to collapse, after all?
>
>
> Not just the possibility of failure, but the possibility of not doing
> nearly as well on our mission as we could. "To educate everyone with a
> broadband connection" is not entirely convincing.
>
>
> - d.
>
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Re: A modest proposal: ads on wikipedia.com

Judson Dunn-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 4/23/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 23/04/07, cohesion <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I'm not opposed to having opt-out advertising on wikipedia.org, but I
> > don't really understand why we would want to dilute our url structure
> > and pagerank on *every* term by creating a weird commercial non-fork.
>
>
> What use is pagerank to us?

Maybe I shouldn't have used the term pagerank, I don't mean it in a
google proprietary way, I mean it more as a general measure of URL
authoritativeness.

I like to think we are at least sort of concerned about the general
organization of knowledge on the whole internet. When our potential
users search google for, say, "Cholesterol", Wikipedia is in the top 5
results (#2 for me now). This is a good thing, because we offer a
neutral factual article. I personally think
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholesterol is the *best* URL for that
term.

I'm not saying we should care about pagerank for all the normal
reasons most websites do (revenue), we should care because we are
doing a good job at making useful articles, and letting people read
and access them is good.

This is the case for thousands of terms, forking the URLs breaks this,
and I don't see why we need to break this fundamental feature of the
internet just to serve ads. I'm ambivalent on ads, I just don't like
the idea of 2 URLs for the same content.

> If they aren't, Overture will. Or MSN ads.
>

Right, whoever :)

> Stable versions would create much the same thing, though.

Except at the same URL, which is all I am concerned about.

Judson
[[:en:User:Cohesion]]

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