Wikipedia leaves $100M on the table (or "PLEASE Jimbo, reconsider–media philanthropy could change the world!")

Update: Story is now on digg.

While on the subject of media philanthropy….

I sat next to Jimbo at a Wikipedia dinner over the summer. I begged him to put a leaderboard on Wikipedia and told him I would get AOL to sell it and host Wikipedia–for free. He declined saying there will never be ads on Wikipedia. I then explained to him in detail how that one leaderboard could make over $100M per year. I told him that they should take the $100M and give it to charity. They could help fund MediaWiki, the EFF, Firefox, and dozens of other open source projects.

Jimbo:
please reconsider!!! I know I can get AOL to sell the inventory at zero cost to you guys and we will donate the bandwidth. Just give us a little 25×25 pixel thank you (i.e. “Hosted donated by AOL.” That’s it.

Note: I’m bringing this up again a good friend pointed me to this very, very conservative valuation of Wikipedia. Wikipedia if it was a private company would be worth $5B.

Note2: I’m not a saying change anything else about Wikipeda. I’m not saying make it commercial–I’m saying put a leaderboard up to make the world a better place. $100M in donations would really help the world–heck, it would change the world!

Note3: In my mind it is unconscionable to not monetize the Wikipedia when a leaderboard would do NOTHING to take away from the project. Let’s do it people! Even if it’s not with AOL, give the inventory to John Battelle or Google to sell–every day that goes by we lose a million bucks that could change the world.