Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.
April 07, 2005 08:01 AM US Eastern Time

Wikimedia Foundation Announces Corporate Support of Wikipedia from Yahoo! Search; Helps Allow the Organization to Run Wikipedia Independently

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. & SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 7, 2005--Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that develops and maintains free open content for the public, and Yahoo! Search, a leading global search engine, today announced that Yahoo! Search will dedicate hardware and resources to support Wikipedia, a community based encyclopedia written and edited by people from around the world. The contribution is the most significant dedication made to date to the Wikimedia Foundation by a corporate sponsor and is essential to furthering their global growth.

In addition, Wikipedia content will become available to hundreds of millions of users worldwide through Yahoo! Search via shortcuts that are automatically displayed above the relevant search results ( Yahoo! will begin making Wikipedia content available via shortcuts in the U.S., select European, Asian, and Latin American properties over the next several weeks.

So Yahoo beat Google in the race to support Wikipedia. Seems like Yahoo is running circles around Google these days. Anyway, congrats to all involved. Sounds like an excellent relationship.

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that I should make it clear that the "race" I was referring to was that Google had been widely rumored to be in talks with Wikipedia for sponsorship. Yahoo beat them in the race to close a deal with Wikipedia. Maybe it isn't a "race" but it's interesting in light of Yahoo one-upping Google on a variety of fronts these days.

UPDATE 2: Announcement on Wikimedia Foundation page.


Surprise;Surprise! As a total and Wikipedia junky, I had imagined and speculated for several months that "Do no evil" would buy these companies.

Seems like The Empire Strikes Back?

Regardless of who the Sugar Daddy is, we need to keep these babies up!

Does the availablity of free content mean that all content should be free? Or does it recreate a mareting distinction between material produced by professions (paid, with standards of quality and performance) vs. amateur (which may or may not have the same quality and may conceal hidden agendas).

Google is busy right now with Google Print, which as a partner, I can tell you is still feeling its way. Some of the Google Print material is in the public domain. Most is not, but can be sampled before purchase.

"Paid" does not mean "expensive". Most of my titles cost about the same as a cup of coffee in a restaurant; $1.95.

Wikepedia is a great solution for the casual browser. Does it meet the standards of the academy and the corporate researcher?

"Does the availablity of free content mean that all content should be free? Or does it recreate a mareting distinction between material produced by professions (paid, with standards of quality and performance) vs. amateur (which may or may not have the same quality and may conceal hidden agendas)."

The goal of Wikipedia is not to do "free" for the sake of doing "free". The goal is to make information available to the highest number of people on Earth.

This means that the content should be found for "free" (as in beer), so that price does not become a limiting factor. Internet is the perfect solution for a "free" (as in beer) publishing, as it does not cost a lot to host such a huge amount of information.

But internet does not reach every reader. It reaches very well most europeans, very well most north does not reach well farmers in isolated areas with no high speed line, it does not reach young kids so well (as their parents are careful of what they read), it does not reach well all those who are not confortable with the net and computers (such as retirees, little educated people) and of course, it does not reach well most of those living in the third world countries (or even 4th world).

For those, other means should be found to make access available. Be they CD Roms, or books, or filtered websites, or reuse on more specialized website or other content support. It might also be just photocopies or bad prints to ship to poor villages in Africa.

This needs an additional effort to produce. And while it is easy to find a wikipedian to write on the last movie or next us president election, it is NOT so easy to find someone ready to take responsability to edit 10 000 books with content from wikipedia, then ship them to Africa, and finally find someone to bring them to the right people, at the right place, at the right moment.

If very few volunteers agree to do this (I can count about 5 people interested in helping on wikipedia right now), commercial firms are ready to help, provided they get a bit of benefit from it.

Well, that bit of benefit is worth the deal.

I see evidence that allowing distribution of content against a token amount will help our goal greatly... and might help people realise that "free" does not necessarily mean "poor quality".

More curious is the idea that someone can obtain for free here and against money there...

Eh... just as love...

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