Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I was just thinking the other day, "If Wikipedia became a paid product, would I pay for it?"

Really, what would happen if it became a for profit product? Would I pay for access to the greatest single repository of information the world has ever seen? Or would I shrug my shoulder and let Google tell me that I actually meant to query something else, and trust that the top placed link is really the best?

How would monetizing Wikipedia even work? That raise a lot of questions about fair compensation for the people creating content.

Its a different line of discussion, but one which is being wrestled with all over the internet. How do you compensate content creators who are not your direct employees for producing content on your platform.

See YouTube.

You mean monetized for access to the content content like spotify? Most creators get peanuts, some get barely enough and some get a huge chunk.

Wikipedia is already monetized, but not like most platforms:


I (and most people) used to buy encyclopedias. If wikipedia didn't exist, I would again...

I used to buy encyclopedias too, paper first and later on CD. But let's be honest here, there is no coming back from Wikipedia. The amount of informations on every single subject, the details, the fact that's its extremely dynamic (yes this new Usain Bolt world record is updated faster than than the actually record time), this is incomparable.

How many information sources do you currently pay for on a monthly basis?

How many times have you actually clicked the "donate" button when Jimmy Wales asks you to?

Zero and several, respectively.

It's still interesting to note that the Wikimedia Foundation is getting more cash in donations than it requires to operate. If it wasn't a non-profit, it would actually turn out a profit.

I don't know what their current cost structure is, but assuming they don't currently pay contributors in a meaningful amount, going for profit would mean they would probably have to, and COGS would go way way up. The current income probably wouldn't cover it.

Why would they have to? Contributors do so voluntarily. This is no different than Quora or Stackoverflow which are both for-profit and don't pay for content.

It does turn a profit. You can be a non-profit and still turn a profit. You just don’t get taxed for generating income the same way, since we assume the profits help the greater good; since, we as a people, (not greed)(ideally) deemed it to be so.

That's not the main difference. The main difference is that the profits can not be paid out investors. They have to be re-invested in the company.

A couple and zero.

The question “what kind of car does Jimmy Wales drive?” Popped into my head after reading this. Is it ok if he drives a Tesla from profiting off Wikipedia? What about a super car? Would anyone care?

Some probably would, at which point Mr Wales would hopefully say "fine, it's now $5 / page view, or a flat $500/month".

Both of which are probably on the low end of what the content is worth.

When you really think about it, we write off free access to the largest repository of information ever as something which just happens to exist.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact