Ad Potential Weighs On Wikipedia

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Thousands of visitors, tons of content, and advertisers begging for a bit of that real estate may be a dream to site publishers, but for Jimmy Wales it’s a different concern.

Wikipedia has thrived with its model of volunteer contributors and non-profit status. An interview with Wales in the UK Times Online noted how successful the idea has been now that it is going on five years in existence.

The online encyclopedia enjoys mammoth traffic volumes and delivers billions of page impressions on a monthly basis. Even better, an assessment of Wikipedia’s quality compared to the Encyclopedia Brittanica by the Nature scientific journal found that content in Wikipedia was “no more unreliable” than the venerable encyclopedia.

Success, of course, has its own set of concerns for the successful. There’s money to be had in online advertising. Marketers have found that the most prime places for ads have vanished in a whirlpool of heavy demand and lengthy lead times for campaign planning. Any outlet with sufficient traffic is going to see briefcases of dollars waved enticingly.

Wales addressed this in the interview:

The combination of ultra-low overheads and massive readership would excite any media executive. And while the site does not carry any advertising, Wales admits it might. “There is a great deal of resistance to the idea, both from the community and from me. But at some point questions are going to be raised over the amount of money we are turning down,” he says.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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