Alex Konanykhin, founder of WikiExperts.us, which helps promote visibility on Wikipedia, believes banner ads featuring Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales have too much visibility on Wikipedia, instead urging the nonprofit research destination to eschew fund-raising in favor of traditional advertising. Konanykhin wrote:
Would we have a more easily searchable Internet if, instead of relying on $23 billion of annual revenues, Google adorned every search page with its founders’ pictures and their personal appeal to donate? The banner with Mr. Wales’ image is viewed roughly 3,000 times every second. Wouldn’t it make more sense to show tasteful ads of advertisers like Rolex and Audi? Is the public truly being asked to donate $16 million to finance Wikipedia … or a personal ego trip?
Konanykhin explained that Wikipedia’s donations-only, no-commerce model limits it to using volunteers rather than qualified professionals, and he continues:
We believe that boycotting fundraising efforts of Wikipedia might compel it to raise billions via advertising and develop content of significantly better quality. Qualified contributors may and shall be compensated for their time. History has repeatedly proven that free labor is not the best business model in the long run and on a large scale.
The no-banners environment on Wikipedia was quite enjoyable and required a relatively low amount of donations. Now we have the worst of both words: huge Jimmy Wales banners which have become a subject of Internet-wide ridicule, combined with the tripled donations goal and failing content development strategy.