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Visit any Wikipedia page and you'll see at the top a big, bold font personal appeal from site founder Jimmy Wales who once again is asking for handouts. His plea starts off by letting visitors know Wikipedia is the No. 5 website in the world, serving 454 million people each month and dishing out billions of page views. Maintaining its modest army of 400 servers and 95 staff costs money, and advertising has no place on Wikipedia, Wales says. As for your cash, well, that's a different story.
"If everyone reading this donated $20, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year," Wales states on Wikipedia's donation page. "But not everyone can or will donate. And that's fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.
"This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50, or whatever ou can to protect and sustain Wikipedia."
If that's not enough to convince you, there's also a blog post outlining 5 reason why you should fork over your hard earned cash to the Wikimedia Foundation, one of which is redundant (No. 2 states Wikipedia is ad free, as you're already reminded on the donation page).
The decision to maintain Wikipedia as a donation-funded site isn't a cut and dry one, and there are people who would like to see Jimmy Wales embrace online advertising. ZDNet's Stephen Chapman is one them, and he has a plea of his own: Stop begging for donations and start implementing ads. Chapman contends that ads don't have to be annoying, and on the contrary, it would be easy to police them so you don't turn away visitors adamant about not visiting an ad-funded version of Wikipedia. Those users are probably using Adblock anyway, Chapman says. Moreover, Wikipedia wouldn't have to rely on Google Adsense if it didn't want to "because companies would practically trip over each other to have their ads displayed to 454 million people every month!"
Do you agree with Chapman and think Wikipedia should finally switch to an ad-supported model, or are you okay with multiple donation drives each year? Sound off in the comments section below.