Jimmy Wales, founder of the popular human encyclopedia site Wikipedia, has posted an open letter soliciting donations to keep the number 9 website ( according to Alexa ) afloat. The plea follows weeks of fund raising efforts, which prior to the letter managed to raise $3.5 million. Days later, that number now stands at over $5.8 million.
"Your donation helps us in several ways. Most importantly, you will help us cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet," Wales wrote in his letter . "Funds also help us improve the software that runs Wikipedia -- making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for. We are committed to growing the free knowledge movement world-wide, by recruiting new volunteers, and building strategic partnerships with institutions of culture and learning."
Wales says that annual expenses are less than $6 million. Because Wikipedia is largely volunteer-based, the site's paid staff sits at just 23, which is 23 more than it had in its first couple years of operation. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Wikipedia's business model changes, as the site doesn't collect any advertising revenue. While the fundraiser appears to have raised enough to keep the site live for another year, it remains to be seen if readers will again be willing to open up their wallets on an annual basis.
Will donations be enough to keep Wikipedia going? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.