How is Wikipedia Still Ad Free?

Wikipedia reached its recent fundraising goal of 16 million dollars. One of the ways it was able to guilt (and I say that in a good way) users into donating is by displaying a giant banner of Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder) asking for your help. This was intrusive and distracting, but it was a constant reminder to me of how incredibly principled Wikipedia is.

In particular, they don’t put content-relevant ads on their pages. Given that Wikipedia currently has 3.5 million articles, they can generate exceptionally relevant ads which would pull in millions of dollars in revenue. The negative effect of that in an encyclopedia, of course, is that you increase the chance of misinformation on a website that seeks to present the most accurate and expansive information repository (as much as accuracy and truth can be found in our complex world).

Still, it’s incredible to see an organization put its principles before its short-term monetary prospects. In the long term, sticking by your ideals is probably also the smart financial move, but the long term is often disregarded when greed enters the picture.

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