By some estimates, advertising at the Wikipedia website could generate many millions of dollars each year. Would advertising on the Wikipedia website disrupt and damage the project? What options exist for fundraising?
New ideas for fundraising
As a fund-raising device, Wikipedia might encourage donations made in the name of certain Wikipedia edits, disputes, arguments, editors, policies. Currently donors can leave 200-character comments along with their donations. It may suffice to popularize this idea if Wikipedia were to simply announce that the donation-comment feature can be used for this purpose. Doing so might generate enough comment and interest to increase donations. But further: a special template could be provided to create an entry on a page listing all such donations and disputes; the $ symbol could be used to register the donation in an entry on the History page of a disputed article (like the 'm' symbol currently used to denote a minor edit); and the 200-character restriction increased (or not), or the restriction could be adjustable based on the size of the donation. The motivation for donors would be to attract attention to a matter of importance to them. This mechanism might result in fewer edit-wars, or at least turn edit-wars into a funding source. Eye.earth 18:28, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia.com stable versions fork
This proposes that the wikipedia.com entry page for each language would look like the wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. Pages at wikipedia.com would: 1) not have the normal set of buttons for editors and 2) every page at wikipedia.com would have page content-related ads in the side-bar. This fork would be non-wiki-like in that it would not be equipped to allow editing of article content at the fork. The "stable versions" of Wikipedia articles would be selected by providing Wikipedia administrators with a "fork" button that allows them to send "approved/stable/non-vandalized" Wikipedia pages to the .com fork. Each article page at wikipedia.com would have a "history" button and people could cite/link to any of the past page versions. Each page at wikipedia.com would have a "no ads version" link to the corresponding page at wikipedia.org. The wikipedia.com website could be a "stripped-down wiki" with just category, portal, Mediawiki, image, and main namespace pages selected by Wikipedia administrators for use at the .com fork. There might be a small number of help pages specifically made for the wikipedia.com website, but all other pages would be copies of existing pages at wikipedia.org. Any "red links" (no corresponding page at the wikipedia.com website) would automatically link back to wikipedia.org.
- Pro There would never be any ads at wikipedia.org (all ads are at the wikipedia.com fork)
- Pro People using wikipedia.com would know that they are going to see side-bar ads and would aways have the option of returning to ad-free wikipedia.org
- Pro Using wikipedia.com would allow us to begin to explore how many people want stable Wikipedia article versions (no vandalism) and do not mind seeing side-bar ads.
- Pro Perhaps articles at Wikipedia.com could be of such high quality that they would match or surpass that of time tested encyclopedias that are trusted for reliability and validity.
- Pro Maybe it could become normal for teachers to allow or encourage it's use in papers.
- Contra Might require some specialized "curators" who would be able to edit/add some pages to the wikipedia.com website so as to correct any problems that arise from simply importing pages from wikipedia.org.