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> Orange and Wikipedia, Money money money
Emperor
post Tue 24th January 2012, 4:48pm
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Orange is a French telecommunications company that has been working with the Wikimedia Foundation for some time. They claim to be providing cheap mobile Wikipedia for children in Africa, or something.

What's the deal here? We know there must be money involved somehow.

The Orange article on Wikipedia is silent, of course. Is the "community" involved in this business with Orange?
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thekohser
post Tue 24th January 2012, 6:48pm
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QUOTE(Emperor @ Tue 24th January 2012, 11:48am) *

Orange is a French telecommunications company that has been working with the Wikimedia Foundation for some time. They claim to be providing cheap mobile Wikipedia for children in Africa, or something.

What's the deal here? We know there must be money involved somehow.

The Orange article on Wikipedia is silent, of course. Is the "community" involved in this business with Orange?


Sorry to sound cynical, but it seems that you're giving license to speak freely...

"[The arrangement] will provide more than 70 million Orange customers with mobile access to Wikipedia without incurring any data usage charges. Any customer with an Orange SIM and mobile internet enabled phone will be able to access the Wikipedia site either through their browser or an Orange widget. They can access the Wikipedia encyclopedia services for as many times as they like at no extra charge as long as they stay within Wikipedia’s pages."

Okay, so you're basically limiting this surcharge-free access to Wikipedia only to those human beings who are already wealthy enough to be an Orange customer and to have an Internet-enabled cell phone. I'm not sure how much that will change the lives of these individuals.

Second, please note the "as long as they stay within Wikipedia's pages". Wikipedia has millions of tempting links to off-site web pages. Surely, many of these Orange customers will get so hooked on Wikipedia, they will inevitably begin exploring off-Wikipedia sites, and (let me guess) it's doubtful that Orange will have a pop-up message to warn the user:

WARNING: You are about to leave the data surcharge-free Wikipedia area of your mobile browser. Are you sure you want to continue? YES NO

So, Wikipedia benefits by getting even more addicts ready to edit their mess. Orange benefits by serving up an innocent-sounding "gateway" website that will spawn even more data charges from amidst their customers who begin to explore the wider web. Plus, they get to tout this new "feature" to any prospective new customers -- come to Orange, the phone with the free encyclopedia!
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Kelly Martin
post Tue 24th January 2012, 7:26pm
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To be fair, too, editing Wikipedia on a mobile device is beyond painful. I can't imagine that they'll get that many more editors this way. Orange, far more than Wikipedia, benefits from this arrangement.

This won't apply for people using Orange as a tethering device, but I imagine that's a vanishingly small portion of their audience.
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post Tue 24th January 2012, 7:47pm
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Are we sure that no money is changing hands here? Is the WMF going to compensate Orange for all that free air time? Is Orange paying Wikipedia for the content?
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Kelly Martin
post Tue 24th January 2012, 8:03pm
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QUOTE(Emperor @ Tue 24th January 2012, 1:47pm) *
Are we sure that no money is changing hands here? Is the WMF going to compensate Orange for all that free air time? Is Orange paying Wikipedia for the content?
Air time doesn't cost anything, so there's nothing to compensate for. Orange is using this as a "loss leader" (that doesn't actually cost them much of anything to provide) to gain customers, and to get people to use the Internet browsing features of their phones so they'll get billable revenue as users wander off of Wikipedia onto other (nonfree) portions of the web.

There's no reason Orange would pay Wikipedia anything, or expect to be paid anything by Wikipedia, for this promotion.
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A Horse With No Name
post Tue 24th January 2012, 9:04pm
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Oranges poranges, who cares?



Now all we need is a Wiki Meet-Up remake with Brad as Pufnstuf, Ironholds as Jack Wild and Risker as Witchiepoo.
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lilburne
post Wed 25th January 2012, 12:42am
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Seems so appropriate with Orange, kids, and wikipedia.
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Ralph
post Wed 25th January 2012, 1:46pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 24th January 2012, 6:48pm) *

Okay, so you're basically limiting this surcharge-free access to Wikipedia only to those human beings who are already wealthy enough to be an Orange customer and to have an Internet-enabled cell phone. I'm not sure how much that will change the lives of these individuals.


Cell phones are quite common even among the poorest people in the poorest nations; wikipedia says there are currently 4.6billion subscribers in the world. So there is no problem there; it's simply marketing, it's not that evil.

...one day I plan on learning how to use semicolons rather than guessing...meh
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thekohser
post Wed 25th January 2012, 2:24pm
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QUOTE(Ralph @ Wed 25th January 2012, 8:46am) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 24th January 2012, 6:48pm) *

Okay, so you're basically limiting this surcharge-free access to Wikipedia only to those human beings who are already wealthy enough to be an Orange customer and to have an Internet-enabled cell phone. I'm not sure how much that will change the lives of these individuals.


Cell phones are quite common even among the poorest people in the poorest nations; wikipedia says there are currently 4.6billion subscribers in the world. So there is no problem there; it's simply marketing, it's not that evil.

...one day I plan on learning how to use semicolons rather than guessing...meh


Cell phone subscription is not the same as mobile web plan subscription. Orange itself states that only one-seventh of its customers have either a 2G or 3G data plan.
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Web Fred
post Wed 25th January 2012, 3:26pm
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If it's one less thing I have to pay for then go for it Orange I say.
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carbuncle
post Wed 25th January 2012, 4:10pm
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QUOTE(Ralph @ Wed 25th January 2012, 1:46pm) *

Cell phones are quite common even among the poorest people in the poorest nations; wikipedia says there are currently 4.6billion subscribers in the world. So there is no problem there; it's simply marketing, it's not that evil.

I believe you are conflating overall cell phone ownership and use with mobile browsing. Many phones simply have no capacity for mobile browsing and function solely as *gasp* phones. Even where the capability exists, mobile browsing comes at an inflated cost (compared to the transmission of voice data), so it is not enabled. Having said that, I think we're really talking about urban Africa here, not "the poorest people in the poorest nations", so there is a vast number of cell phones able to use this "free service".

Mobile browsing is a cash cow for cell phone companies. Note that to use this free service, you need to enable mobile browsing. As thekohser suggests, this is a way to get people using that part of their phones and get the real milk flowing. On the other hand, I'm sure that many Africans will appreciate being able to settle arguments in bars without having to pay for it.
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Cino
post Thu 26th January 2012, 9:30am
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Hard to see this as a bad thing. To make no deal until all phone companies would be prepared to do the same thing would be unrealistic. At the end of the day it's a freebie, mobile users can ignore it.
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post Thu 26th January 2012, 1:43pm
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One also wonders how much time WMF technical staff is going to spend getting this system to work when they could be working on other priorities.
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Kelly Martin
post Thu 26th January 2012, 3:18pm
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QUOTE(Emperor @ Thu 26th January 2012, 7:43am) *
One also wonders how much time WMF technical staff is going to spend getting this system to work when they could be working on other priorities.
Uh, none? This is done entirely within Orange's network.
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post Thu 26th January 2012, 6:37pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Thu 26th January 2012, 10:18am) *

QUOTE(Emperor @ Thu 26th January 2012, 7:43am) *
One also wonders how much time WMF technical staff is going to spend getting this system to work when they could be working on other priorities.
Uh, none? This is done entirely within Orange's network.


I'm no MediaWiki/mobile phone expert, but in my experience nothing is quite so easy like that.

It would be nice if this public charity spelled out in writing exactly what this partnership is and what each party is agreeing to do.
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