Jimmy Wales Talks Consumer-Generated Content At ad:tech

Growth to continue despite recession (which may end soon)

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ad:tech San Francisco kicked off today, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was present to give the opening keynote presentation.  His speech was called "Wikipedia, Wikia, and the Future of Consumer Generated Content," and it nicely complemented an introduction by Drew Ianni on the state of the overall industry.

Coverage of the ad:tech San Francisco conference continues at WebProNews Videos. Stay with WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week. 

Jimmy Wales

Ianni, who acts as ad:tech’s advisory board chairman of programming, believes we’re in the bottom of the recession’s trough and things won’t get worse from here.  He pointed to growth in online video, Facebook, and Twitter as evidence.  A quiet mobile revolution is taking place, too, according to Ianni.  In summary, he said, this year will be tough, but the future is bright.

Then Wales stepped in.  Wales stated, "Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia in history," which by itself says a lot about the online encyclopedia’s success.  He also noted that Wikipedia’s 2.8 million English-language articles represent less than 20 percent of the encyclopedia’s content, making it a truly global enterprise.

So with this success lending him a great deal of credibility, Wales said the recession doesn’t pose much of a threat to consumer-generated content.  Wikipedia was born out of the dot-com crash, after all, and the lack of money available at the time helped bring about the idea of relying on a volunteer community.

Wales went on to claim that Facebook’s extremely undervalued and "consumer media is becoming dominant."  Brand advertising is in some cases merging with consumer media, he said, and this can work well in many situations.

WebProNews Reporter/Anchor Abby Johnson contributed to this report.

Jimmy Wales Talks Consumer-Generated Content At ad:tech
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  • http://www.akahele.org Gregory Kohs

    The myth (or should I be more blunt, and just call it the “lie” that it is?) that Jimmy Wales is “the founder” of Wikipedia really needs to be retired. Dr. Larry Sanger was named as “co-founder” of the project in the first three press releases by the project — the latter two of which were RELEASED BY JIMMY WALES, *AFTER* he had let Sanger go, due to funding constraints. Furthermore, Wales introduced himself as “co-founder” to a Yahoo! Groups message board, as late as August 2002, twenty months after the project’s launch, and at least half a year after Sanger departed.

    Only after Wikipedia began to get traction and crept into the Top 100 websites did Wales devise the treacherous strategy that calling himself “founder” (or, even — it is almost too funny to say — “Sole Founder”, as he actually requested his minions to call him) of the project could yield higher speaker fees (reported to me in 2007 to be $100K per day). It’s beyond me why organizations would pay such money to someone who’s deliberately padded his resume via a lie that deprecates a former co-founder. You can’t really get lower than that in business.

    Anyway, we hear that Jimbo’s solution for the newspaper industry is to turn over control to the “crowd”. The Wikimedia Foundation employs less than 25 people. It uses grant money to pay office space rent to landlord Wikia, Inc. (Jimbo’s for-profit venture — can *you* say “self-dealing”, children? I knew you could). If we extend this model to the newspaper industry, how many people will the industry employ, if the #7 world website employs ~25, by example? My placemat mathematics tells me about 800 or 900, total, across the 100 largest newspapers. And what will happen to the tens of thousands FORMERLY employed by the newspaper trade?

    I guess they will go back to living in their mothers’ basements, just like the majority of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors and admins.

    Thank you for this brilliant advice for a flagging industry that you helped cripple, Jimbo.

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