Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WIKIPEDIA at a STRATEGIC CROSSROADS?


When doing my undergrad, Wikipedia was that “source” – the place where all the answers were. No hassles, pop-ups or re-directs. It was a place where I’d go for help regarding any topic that professors threw my way.

One of Wikipedia’s strategy is that it “will never run ads. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong in Wikipedia[1]. This is a strategy that have served them well over the last couple years as its readership grew to unprecedented levels and was doing very well as a non-profit. Things are changing however and the founders have so far stuck to their initial strategy which significantly limits their financial ability to sustain themselves. Normally when you have non-profits, you tend to receive grants from concrete sources (like a Government, International Body, etc.), but not so in Wikipedia’s case.

I can only imagine how the negative economic climate has had an effect. They have now resorted to public solicitation for funding from the average reader which is never a solid or dependable way to raise capital in my opinion. A brilliant execution of a strategy can get you in the game but it takes very good implementation and constant analysis to keep you there[2] and I think it’s time for Wikipedia to do some checks internally to see what is the new best secret in staying ahead is. What’s the best new way to implement a strategy that will counteract its financial issues?

It would be wrong to say Wikipedia failure to execute a correct strategy is the reason for their current predicament but it could be a very good reason for future problems. They’re at a crossroads now and something has to be done strategy-wise.

I’m not sure that public solicitation is a good implementation for both the short term or long term. I hope Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger makes the right strategic choice at this time for the sake of all knowledge seekers out there.

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