Wikipedia advertising proposal version three: The $6M a year search box solution that will keep ads OFF of the Wikipedia.

OK, so I’ve listened to–and been beaten down–by a legion of folks who’ve schooled me on the evil, evil nature of advertising and how it would destroy the Wikipedia. Now, I don’t think it would destroy Wikipedia, but I’m not one of the core 500 folks who really built the Wikipedia to where it is today, so I would always deferrer to their intimate knowledge of the project.

Here are my proposals so far:

Day One: Add one, non-graphical leaderboard to the Wikipedia.
Response: Die, die capitalist marketing freak—Wikipedia can never have ads or it loses all credibility—die, die capitalist marketing freak, you suck… die, die, die!

Day Two: Add one, non-graphical leaderboard to the Wikipedia that people can opt out of.
Response: Die, die capitalist marketing freak—Wikipedia can never have ads or it loses all credibility—die, die capitalist marketing freak, you suck… die, die, die!


Day Two: Let users add one, two, or three non-graphical ads to the Wikipedia if they OPT-IN.

Response: Have not heard back on this one yet.

Day Three (today): Add a “search the web” box on the top right of the Wikipedia pages or next to the Wikipedia Search box on the left.
Response: ????

The concept here would be to make money the EXACT same way Firefox does: with a Google/Yahoo/MSN/etc. search box. A search box would do $15-25 RPM (revenue per thousand pages). Wikipedia would throw off 1-2% of their traffic to the search box depending on placement. When people leave Wikipedia they go to Google/Yahoo/MSN search anyway, so there is no reason Wikipedia couldn’t take a % of that revenue–right?

If Wikipedia is getting 2B pages a month that would be 20-40M searches. Even at a $10 RPM that would be $300-800k a month. $300-800k a month would buy a lot of servers and it would be hard to argue that a “search the web” box would have any negative impact on Wikipedia…. right?

Anyway, I’ve got an entrepreneurs brain for better or worse… I can think a million way to monetize. My hope is that one of them clears the filter of the brilliant hive mind of the Wikipedia.

Note: IF Wikipedia says they don’t want to make any money that’s fine, but the Wikipedia has stated it needs to make some money to pay for core staff, servers, and bandwidth. The search box solution would give wikipedia the ability to hire 10 tech folks and buy another 300-400 servers–easily.