Wikipedia in REAL danger!!!Florence Devouard, chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation, caused a bit of a stir at the recent Lift conference in Geneva by suggesting that Wikipedia is running out of money and could “disappear” — The original report came on a blog written by Philippe Mottaz, a Swiss multimedia producer and journalist. According to his report, Ms. Devouard told the conference:
“Wikipedia has the financial resources to run its servers for about three to four months. If we do not find additional funding, it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear.”
There is also a similar report from Bruno Giussani, an author and the European director of the TED conferences. Meanwhile, a Wikimedia staff member named Sandy Ordonez has posted a comment on Nick’s post saying “Ms. Devouard’s comment was taken out of context” and that “Wikipedia will not be closing any time soon. Ms. Devouard was simply referring to the ongoing, pressing needs for funds that Wikipedia, like most nonprofit organizations, face.”
Perhaps Ms. Devouard was simply using her platform at Lift to raise awareness that Wikipedia needs donations to continue. According to Mr. Giussani, Wikipedia now has 350 servers and requires at least $5-million U.S. just to keep the service alive, let alone grow. A recent fundraising drive raised $1-million.
A couple of things spring to mind — the first being: Couldn’t Chad Hurley or Steve Chen, who are now multimillionaires, or Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs or one of a dozen other billionaire geeks cough up a measly $1-million or $2-million to keep the lights on at Wikipedia? And the second is whether this might revive interest in Jason Calacanis’s idea of running small ads on the site, which he said at one point was worth as much as $5-billion.
This article has been partly edited(www.meroguff.com).