Wikipedia struggles with funding

March 12, 2008 at 3:25 PM
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SAN MATEO, Calif., March 12 (UPI) -- Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, appears to be at another crossroads -- this time over financing.

Millions of people visit the site every day, which means Wikipedia could make a fortune from advertising. But so far, The Los Angeles Times reports, Wikipedia is reluctant to go that route.

This week, financing questions took a bizarre turn. Jeff Merkey, founder of Timpanogas Research Group, said that Jimmy Wales, one of Wikipedia's founders, agreed to give his Wikipedia entry special protection in return for a $5,000 donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wales, according to Merkey's Wikipedia entry, said that the claim of special treatment is "nonsense." Wales did erase a previous entry, replacing it with an entry with limited editing access.

Sue Gardner, Wikipedia's executive director, has been trying to make the outfit more businesslike, with policies on travel and expense reimbursement and a code of conduct for employees. But Gardner told the Times that Wikipedia's attitude to money is "about as unsophisticated" as possible.

"It's time for us to grow up a little bit," she said.

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