April 20, 2007 / 7:05 PM / 10 years ago

Wikipedia founder mulls revenue options

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Free online encyclopedia Wikipedia may launch trivia games and quiz programs to boost funds and could veer from its no advertising policy in the future to raise cash for charity, its founder said on Thursday.

But Jimmy Wales, who founded the free, multi-lingual virtual encyclopedia in 2001, told Reuters the firm will continue to eschew advertising for now.

“When we’re turning down millions and millions of dollars in advertising revenue that could be used, to for example, put computers in schools in Africa...we have to very thoughtful and responsible about why we’re doing it,” he said in an interview.

“Right now I don’t think it would be a good strategy for us, I think we will pursue other means of revenue,” he said on the sidelines of a digital freedom conference in Cape Town.

Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone, is the ninth most popular Web site in the world according to Web traffic monitoring site Alexa.com.

The Wikipedia Foundation, which runs the encyclopedia Web site, last year raised some $1 million from donations and was expected to spend up to $3 million this year, Wales said.

He said he was looking at ways to capitalize on the strength of the Wikipedia brand -- which is ranked among the world’s top five -- to raise funds.

Wales reiterated that his company Wikia Inc., which is not linked to Wikipedia, was working on a search engine to rival Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., which it expects to finish towards the end of the year.

“Hopefully it’s successful and would provide funding back to Wikipedia,” Wales said.

Wales said last month that Wikia is aiming to take as much as 5 percent of the lucrative Internet search market.

The former futures trader, who has become an evangelist for the free sharing of technology, has said users should work together to improve search engines, working on the same principle as Wikipedia.

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