What are the various ways to capture revenue from advertising?
Types of ads:
Sponsorship, sits somewhere between "charitable donation" and "advertising". Some sponsors might request certain pages to be excluded from having their "endorsement". No obvious examples of websites that use sponsorshp to generate revenue.
Context-sensitive ads, like Gmail, social networks, and articles that serve ads based on interpreting phrases or knowing the location of the user (very hard to execute well)
Search-related ad where advertisers bid on keywords, and ads are served when "searcher" enter terms that match keywords (best for advertisers)
Ads served based on a demographic (e.g., could categorize pages based on which demographics visit most often—-teen girls for pop culture--and then serve ads that are attractive to that demographic)
Ads based on buying behavior through cookies or more sophisticated means (e.g., Gap records that you bought a sweater with them, and they know that it is easier to get greater share of wallet than acquire new customers, so they track you and make sure that you see at least 10 of their ads over the course of the month after your purchase)
Four types of ad revenue available:
Pay for "brand association" (corporate sponsorship)
Pay per impression (page view)
Pay per click (user clicks on ad)
Pay per conversion (user buys product)
Potential implications for Wikimedia: Context-based ads could be interesting, but difficult to pull off. Serving ads based on demographics might be more feasible: Categorizing content like pop culture, financial, sports, etc and having advertisers pick user demographics/psychographics might make sense. Google provides some of this functionality for many companies. There might be the potential here to bring in millions of dollars, even using very conservative estimates.
What are the operational requirements of advertising? What are the tradeoffs of different approaches?
"In-house advertising" would require Wikimedia/Wikipedia to host advertisements, match ads to pages, and serve ads; would likely require significant investment (e.g., sales staff, investment in IT components to track user base and results), but would allow Wikimedia to keep all revenue
"Outsourced advertising" (e.g, Google AdSense) would take much of burden off of Wikimedia; would require little investment (e.g., no sales staff or significant IT components), but provider would take portion of revenues
What are the implications on the look and feel of the landing page including what type of ads, the location of the ads, and frequency of ads?
On limited number of pages not linked to Wikimedia's educational mission (e.g., pop culture) OR on limited number of pages with high traffic (e.g., search page)
Across all pages
Permission to accept ads
Opt-in advertising (e.g., click on button to make ads appear)
Opt-out advertising (e.g., click on button to make ads disappear)
WikiHow and WordPress are examples of popular, free web sites that anybody can edit. They use opt-in, opt-out, or minimal as-needed ads. Also see "Turning the ads off," a Wall Street Journal article about WikiHow's opt-out policy.