Wikipedia Next on the Auction Block?

Via Nick Carr, we have a report that the wikipedia is strapped for cash:

At this point, Wikipedia has the financial ressources to run its servers for about 3 to 4 months. If we do not find additional funding, it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear”. The warning by Florence Devouard, chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation was certainly dire, and Lift07 was as good a venue to make an appeal. But it is another illustration of how difficult it is to find the proper business model in the digital age, and more precisely in this case in what Florence called the “gift economy”.

With the server costs piling up, it begs the questions:

1. Will Wikipedia be Next on the Auction Block?

2. Who would buy it? and

3. How much would this uber authority site sell for?

I predict that the wikipedia will not be sold in the next 24 months.

However, if it were to change hands, I can’t see it selling for less than $1 Billion. The obvious suiters are GAMEY (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Ebay, Yahoo), but it would be a good play for others like NewsCorp, New York Times Company, or just about anyone that wants an instant online presence. Would it be worth it for a company like lendingtree to buy the wikipedia just to harvest mortgage leads? The Harvard University Endowment is about $30 Billion – might they or another university look at buying this online monster?

What’s interesting is that almost any major company or organization could benefit from owning this online monster; so there’s no reason to think that it would sell for less than $1 billion: but could a company that continues to hemeridge money pull in $5 Billion, $10 Billion or more on the auction Block?

Whip out your crystal balls – do you think the wikipedia will be sold in the next 2 years? Who is most likely to buy it? What is it worth?

Update: Wikipedia NOT in a cash crunch.

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12 Responses to “Wikipedia Next on the Auction Block?”

  1. bradmkjr says:

    Maybe we will start to see Adsense on wiki sooner then later. They have valid unique content, and authentic visitors, why they haven’t tried to sell links or host small banners. I think adbrite style marketing, and open up the links to auction block could raise enough money to keep the site ticking for many more generations.

    The question is, how much would you pay for a link from Wiki to your site (without the nofollow tag)?

  2. Andrew Johnson says:

    Sounds like a boy calling wolf, if they were down to their last dollar slapping up a few Adsense ad units would solve all problems.

    In comparison to the YouTube, Myspace, and Skype buy-outs, Wikipedia is “worth” no less than $5 billion. This site has longevity on its side. If there is one web site I believe will be around in 150 years, I’d put my money on Wikipedia. Myspace may be drying up in 5.

  3. [...] * Also from QuadsZilla, who rules the tea time today, Wikipedia for $1,000,000,000? [...]

  4. aftermarket says:

    CBS might be interested, CBS wants to buy the next YouTube But I don’t think wikipedia would sell itself. Wikipedia isn’t the next youtube, but it hashuge traffic

  5. sharpseo says:

    Why doesn’t Wiki put a sponsored Google search box on every page? That would produce a nice pile of cash. Firefox made something like $35 million in 2005 from Adsense , thanks to the embedded Google search box. Sponsored search seems a lot more realistic than ad-blocks & banners on Wikipedia.

    Regarding the worth of Wiki, I agree it’s huge. The NYT paid something like $400 million for About.com a few years ago, and that was arguably a steal. About has to be a huge cash cow at this point.

  6. engtech says:

    Putting sponsored google searches on the site would be hilarious.

    1. Go to wikipedia
    2. Google search something
    3. First result is the same article on wikipedia

  7. [...] Via one of my new favorite blogs, SeoBlackHat.com, Wikipedia is seriously hurting for funds. According to a spokesperson, they only have enough money to fund servers for 3-4 more months. If they don’t raise enough money, “it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear”, says Florence Devouard, chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation. [...]

  8. [...] Man munkelt im Web 2.0 im Anschluss an die obige Aussage, dass sich hier ein nächsten Übernahmekandidat entwickeln könnte: Wikipedia Next on the Auction Block? [...]

  9. [...] Here’s something that’s bugging me about TechMeme today. Philippe Mottaz has a report that Wikipedia is running out of cash. Nick Carr linked to it. SEO Blackhat linked to Nick and Philippe’s report. Duncan Riley linked to SEO Blackhat’s report. [...]

  10. If Wikipedia goes, I’d like to see it go to something like the Harvard University Endowment. I think selling it to a major corporation and filling it with ads is the worst thing that can happen to this site…

  11. [...] Jimmy Wales, the founder of the Wikipedia, contacted me to make some corrections on the “Wikipedia Next on the Auction Block?” story from last week: I am the sole founder of Wikipedia . . . The whole story (about an alleged cash crunch) is ridiculous, and I can’t believe that sharp bloggers were sucked in by the mainstream media on this story. -jimbo   [...]

  12. [...] Die Wikipedia sei in Geldnot, so Nicholas Carr, und so mancher fragt sich, [...]