Wikipedia is free and open, its content is available to the public. People can contribute, they can edit, they can donate to keep the site online, and they can of course take all the information they need without having to do any of the other three things.
Every year Wikipedia launches a campaign asking people to donate to keep the open encyclopedia working, and although individual donors account for the majority of contributions, also some corporations donate, and between 2017 and so far in 2018, Google has been the one that has contributed the most money, with more than 1 million dollars.
Other tech giants like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have contributed around $ 50,000, and they do it to match the donations their employees make. The truth is that $ 50,000 for corporations as large and multi-million dollar as these is a pretty poor figure, especially considering that they also take advantage of Wikipedia in some way.
Donations from corporations represent only 4% of everything Wikipedia receives
The companies that donated the most to Wikipedia between 2017 and 2018:
- Google (over $ 1 million)
- Humble Bundle ($ 456,000)
- Craigslist Foundation ($ 250,000)
- Cards Against Humanity ($ 35,000)
Most of the donation money Wikipedia receives comes from individuals. About six million donations averaging $ 10 each.
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Lisa Gruwell, the head of the main revenue office for Wikimedia, the foundation behind Wikipedia, spoke to TechCrunch about corporations that use Wikipedia and give something back to the platform. He also commented on how even though Wikipedia is free, it should not be exploited and needs people to contribute in some way to be sustainable.
Our content is there to be used. It has free licenses for a reason. At the same time, it is like the environment. It is there to be used, but not to be exploited. We need people to use content for something to change it in some way. That is what we promote. There are not paywall. We do not charge for data. If you can give something, we ask you to give it, and if you can’t, you can still use it. It’s the kind of social contract we have with our readers.
Many companies use the Wikipedia API to gain that knowledge the encyclopedia has, and all is well within Wikipedia’s fair use rules, but Gruweel is concerned that many relationships are one-sided. Wikipedia gives freely but receives nothing in return.
When you ask attendees at Apple or Amazon who the Queen of England is, for example, they both pull that information from Wikipedia, but neither company gives credit to Wikipedia, nor does it contribute to the foundation. Personal assistants are an intermediary that even when citing Wikipedia, they do not offer any connection to the original source, a fundamental part of the DNA of Wikipedia.
While Apple, the most valuable company on planet Earth, barely matched its employees’ contributions at $ 50,000, Amazon for its part does not even appear in the list of donors.
Via | TechCrunch
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