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> Encyclopedia Sales, Man.
mbz1
post Thu 29th September 2011, 10:48pm
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I'd like to ask, if Wikipedia could be sold, and if so, who'd get the money.
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GlassBeadGame
post Thu 29th September 2011, 11:15pm
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QUOTE(mbz1 @ Thu 29th September 2011, 4:48pm) *

I'd like to ask, if Wikipedia could be sold, and if so, who'd get the money.


Sure. WMF foundation owns all the intangible property associated with the site: name, logo, good-faith etc along with infrastructure like servers, routers and such. They do not own the software it runs. The licensing is weird but WMF probably at no point in time actually owns the content and of course it can always be forked. WMF would have to use the proceeds for a charitable purpose or disburse them to an entity with a charitable purpose.
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Kelly Martin
post Fri 30th September 2011, 12:24am
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Most of Wikipedia's monetizable value is in its name, specifically the trademarked name Wikipedia and the wikipedia.org domain name. WMF may have rights to some of MediaWiki (because significant development has been done by WMF employees in the course of their duties, making their contributions works-for-hire owned by WMF) but the GPL licensure makes it difficult for them to monetize MediaWiki, and in any case MediaWiki sucks ass. The content is also not owned by WMF, but that also doesn't matter.

The WMF is free to sell off any or all of its assets for any purpose whatsoever; however, any funds it obtains in return must be used for a charitable purpose, either by WMF or by another charity. Proceeds must not inure to the benefit of any individual.
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mbz1
post Fri 30th September 2011, 1:05am
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Thank you for responding my question. I would like to ask how much wikimedia foundation costs, and how this amount corresponds to the amount of yearly donations.
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GlassBeadGame
post Fri 30th September 2011, 1:17am
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QUOTE(mbz1 @ Thu 29th September 2011, 7:05pm) *

Thank you for responding my question. I would like to ask how much wikimedia foundation costs, and how this amount corresponds to the amount of yearly donations.


Of course the cost would be determined by a buyer and seller. The second part is interesting. It might be possible to determine the value of a charity as some multiple of annual donations like you could do with for-profit revenues but I have never heard of this. Often an important asset of a non-profit is a donor list. With WMF this is less important because they seem to just throw up ads and people respond. It is not clear that if people would respond at the same level if a new management made the solicitation. Also this asset would be zeroed-out if a for-profit owned Wikipedia.

In general there is not the kind of active market for non-profits as in the for-profit sector.
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Kelly Martin
post Fri 30th September 2011, 4:21am
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Charities are valuated, when they are valuated at all, at book value. Since charities cannot be privately owned, there's no such thing as a P/E ratio or dividend yield or any of the other metrics that are used to value businesses. Book value tends to yield a fairly conservative estimate of the value of an enterprise (since it usually reflects what the enterprise would be worth if immediately liquidated, with no regards to future earning potential), but as the entire future earnings of a charity (other than investment income, which would be entirely derived from its current and fixed assets anyway) are in its donor goodwill, and donor goodwill is generally not very transferable, book value is probably the fairest valuation of a charity.

You should be able to find an approximate book value for the WMF in its annual audit report, and it might also be in their Form 990 (although I don't remember anymore what's in a 990, or which of the various reporting requirements apply to the WMF).
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EricBarbour
post Fri 30th September 2011, 5:20am
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The annual report?? The annual report???? Ha ha haha!

The annual report is propaganda. Full of insane bullshit that they will never accomplish.

Would you like to go over the bullet points?


QUOTE
Support healthy diversity in the editing community by doubling the percentage of female editors to 25%

FAIL

QUOTE
Increase the percentage of Global South editors to 37%

They might pull that off, unfortunately all the results will be in Spanish and Portuguese.

QUOTE
Increase the total number of people served to one billion

How in the hell do they calculate that?? According to their own chart, Wikipedia has served only about 1.5 billion people OVER ITS ENTIRE HISTORY. Is that supposed to be one billion per year? Every ten years? Bullshit.

QUOTE
Increase the number of Wikipedia articles we offer to 50 million

If they reach 10 million, it will be a MIRACLE.
Because 80+% of the new articles being made today are stubs generated by bots.
Stubs no one will EVER read or expand. With a high proportion of obscure species of plant and
invertebrate (stolen from other websites of course), placenames in Turkey (thanks a lot Blofeld),
and of course, football players.

QUOTE
Ensure information is high quality by increasing the percentage of material reviewed to be of high or very high quality by 25%
laugh.gif yecch.gif

QUOTE
Encourage readers to become contributors by increasing the number of total editors who make at least 5 edits per month to 200,000

angry.gif Hopeless. People are still quitting in droves.

Instead of spending that $7.48 million they banked in 2010 on outreach and advertising, they are sitting on it.

Plus, the latest financial statement from 2010.
Note page 2--that outfit is raking in money like a bandit.

It is not an "encyclopedia", it is a fundraising scam.
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Kelly Martin
post Fri 30th September 2011, 5:25am
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Fri 30th September 2011, 12:20am) *
Plus, the latest financial statement from 2010.
Note page 2--that outfit is raking in money like a bandit.
Indeed, $19M in fundraising, and $24M in net equity, $17M of which is cash, barely more than $1M in fixed assets, and no long-term debt. There are regulations against charities hoarding cash, and I think they're probably running a risk of running into them.
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thekohser
post Fri 30th September 2011, 6:01am
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Could a moderator rename this thread?
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carbuncle
post Fri 30th September 2011, 12:35pm
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Although it isn't quite as directly relevant in this case, I like to remind people that one of the assets of even the least successful internet ventures is often their membership list (names, email addresses, etc). There is actually a wealth of demographic information to be mined in WP since people are willing to identify many of their personal traits and causes with userboxes and group membership. On the other hand, much of that is likely to be fake info created with a view to making sockpuppets look legitimate. On the other other hand, anyone foolish enough to use their "regular" email with WP might make it worth the purchase price.

On a much simpler level, if you just wanted a mailing list of people likely to support some new free culture enterprise or political cause, this would be a good source.
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mbz1
post Fri 30th September 2011, 3:38pm
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I've just found this articlethat states that the "a fair price for Wikipedia, the sixth most read site in the world, would be $ 1.2 billion...Other assessments stick to four billion."
It is very interesting, the site that during its life time made at most 200, 000 millions dollars in donations costs billions.


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GlassBeadGame
post Fri 30th September 2011, 4:21pm
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QUOTE(mbz1 @ Fri 30th September 2011, 9:38am) *

I've just found this articlethat states that the "a fair price for Wikipedia, the sixth most read site in the world, would be $ 1.2 billion...Other assessments stick to four billion."
It is very interesting, the site that during its life time made at most 200, 000 millions dollars in donations costs billions.


Selfish narcissistic people always have a hard time understanding that when you give something away you no longer own it.

QUOTE
But the encyclopedia “is not for sale and not for money,” said Wales.


It is no longer for him to say. I don't think any sale is going to happen. But if the WMF B/D did I think it would be just splendid. If WMF would sell the site any give to money to the Gates Foundation to buy mosquito nets I would applaud. The 1.2 billion is probably the value of advertising based on site traffic. It is a pretty shaky figure and too high. But the value of any other site with as much traffic would be at least the order of a whole magnitude larger. Mr. Wales did figure out how to waste most of the value of a top 10 website.

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