Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, has appealed to users to donate to the free online encyclopedia to ‘protect’ the site and the space in which it operates.
In an open letter Wales has pleaded with users to support the site, which he said cost $US10 million a year and to run and has a staff of less than 35 people. About half work on technology, while another team supports public outreach and volunteer cultivation activities, and the remaining work in fundraising and administration.
“Wikipedia isn't a commercial website. It's a community creation, entirely written and funded by people like you. More than 340 million people use Wikipedia every month — almost a third of the Internet-connected world,” he wrote.
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organisation Wales created in 2003 to help grow Wikipedia, the fifth most-read website worldwide.
“We need to protect the space where this important work happens. We need to protect Wikipedia. We want to keep it free of charge and free of advertising. We want to keep it open — you can use the information in Wikipedia any way you want.
Wales is also the co-founder of a for-profit company, Wikia, which hosts some of the largest wikis outside of Wikipedia. The company was founded in 2004 and reportedly reached profitability in September this year. It is, however, a completely separate entity to the Wikimedia Foundation.