Proposal:Sell a service
If not English, in what language is this proposal submitted?:
Create a for-profit company whose sole mission is to support Wikimedia.
Wikimedia should create a for-profit company to sell services that are related to Wikimedia's expertise. All the profits would be automatically donated to Wikimedia or reinvested. The business could be, for instance, in collaborative software like PBworks. Or it could be something more creative, say a system that would generate revenue through the combined efforts of the Wikimedia users (contribute with your time and effort and help make money for Wikimedia).
When do companies make a lot of money by providing digital content? When they sell a service. That is Google, Apple's iTunes, and now Amazon with its Kindle books. That's also how Canonical makes money out of free software, by providing paid technical support. If you think about it, that's an excellent business model, as Canonical is then able to sponsor Ubuntu Linux, and that's also how Google supports its philanthropic arm Google.org. If Wikimedia creates a related, for-profit company whose sole mission is to make money to support Wikimedia, we would have the best of both worlds. In the long run, this would ensure Wikimedia's financial sustainability regardless of external donations.
- What exactly should be the new business?
license the trademark The wikipedia globe is recognised and trusted by millions around the globe. Our other brands are not quite as well known but also have some value. License folks to produce and sell stuff branded with the wikipedia trademark - books, dictionaries, iphone apps, towels, 3-D jigsaw puzzles, bus tours of historic sights.
Wikipedia stuff If we don't want to license the trademark far and wide we could do it on a more limited scale - selling wikipedia and wikimedia branded stuff in a wikimedia store on the site. All the same stuff listed above (including the bus tours) but only available from our own store.
Wiki as a service We host and administer a wiki for you - either as a paid service, at your url, with no ads; or as a free service, with ads like Wikia.
Special access to our data There are loads or ingenious applications folks will come up with to reuse our data many of which will be too silly for WM to ever consider hosting itself. To do these apps these folks will have to host our data and for a start up that could be a significant cost, not to mention having to keep updating. For a fee per million accesses (first million free) you can have direct access to our data.
Special access to our users. The other asset we have, besides our reputation, our servers/admins, and our data is our list of users. Many charities spam there contributors by including brochures from third parties in mailshots etc. Wikimedia could do something like that. The big disadvantage of this proposal is that it would be a betrayal of the users trust and would probably lead to many users leaving.
- Where would the initial investment come from?
From revenue. If it takes significant additional up front investment then lets not do it.
- Initial investment to start the business.
- Facing the associated risks.
Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Sell a service.
Want to work on this proposal?
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