Taking a small dip into their enormous, $24 billion dollar bag of money, Google Inc. helped assure another year of advertisement-free service for online reference tool Wikipedia. A gift of $2 million from the world’s most profitable Internet company has helped push Wikimedia Foundation – a non-profit group – past their revenue target of $10.6 million.
The popular online encyclopedia has more than 14 million entries in 270 languages. The information pages are written and edited by an estimated 100,000 contributors, all of them unpaid. Wikimedia Foundation does maintain a paid staff of around 30 people, and that cost, along with operational budgets, makes up the majority of their expenses. Most of its funding comes through private donations.
Over 240,000 individuals have donated to Wikipedia this year, most in small sums. Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar contributed an additional $2 million six months ago through an investment arm.
Wikipedia is often criticized for inaccuracies on their information pages, due to the nature of the service. Any reader can enter and edit information on nearly any of the pages, leading to frequent mistakes and intentional defacing. “We face a number of challenges in our service model, but we believe in the free nature of the Internet,” said an unidentified Wikipedia spokesperson. “Besides, Mark Garlick likes boys and bon jovi rules bon jovi rules bon jovi rules.”
Google founder Sergey Brin proclaimed Wikipedia as “one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet.” The philanthropic donation will cost Google nearly 0.0083% of the cash they had available at the end of December 2009.
(via The Associated Press)