Ad Supported Wikipedia

I know a lot of people want Wikipedia to remain free of advertising.  I am not one of them.

It seems that Jimmy Wales can’t make up his mind about commercializing Wikipedia and is concerned about a "backlash" if he does.

I say do whatever you need to do Jimmy.  The service is awesome and I am happy to use it ad-supported or not.  If the ads are targeted, so much the better.

But it does raise the question about the small committed group of people who do most of the work to keep the service accurate and current.  They do that for a host of reasons right now, none of them financial.  If Wikipedia starts to make money, will that impact their desire to continue to work for free?  I would bet that it does, and so the most important thing that Jimmy needs to do, if he wants to commercialize Wikipedia, is figure out how he keeps the community involved in a commercialized service.

There are a multitude of ways to do that.  I am not going to try to suggest which are the best ones here.  But I think all the hand wringing over this issue is much ado about nothing.  Wikipedia can exist in a commercial form.  And frankly, I’d love to see that happen as it can provide a roadmap for others working in user generated media to follow.

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