lol, "suggest commercial income" seems to be revolving every 7-8 years in
our movement. when wikipedia was founded in 2001 larry sanger tried to sell
something (ads), when sue gardner joined she tried to sell something in
2008 (kul was doing business development at the time), and now lila
tretikov again tries to sell something. this did not work in the past and
will not work now. the reason is simple: providing infrastructure is cheap
compared to the rest of what WMF does, and it anyway is the main motivation
for people to give money to WMF. if you sell providing infrastructure to
businesses you risk a direct and hard effect in donation income. of course
you can disguise it through intransparency, various licensing models, etc.

the problem is always the same imo. people who do not edit fail to
understand why people edit, and why they stop doing so. they tend to fail
to understand what else editing folks would contribute. this leads to
mis-representing "growth" in number of employees, or yearly budget, and
trials to directly influence income. it leads to trials that consuming
contents is only good through a WMF owned domain. thoughts like "what data
do we not provide", "what group of persons do we not address well", "how
can the data be structured so more can be made out of it", "how many
persons do we reach direct or indirect" are not so common. are we a website
operator or a free content provider? i always have to cry when i read
another version of the strategy missing out there.

at times, the search for strategy and what to measure reminds me on an old
east frisian joke:
a drunken frisian searches a key looking around a street lamp. a passerby
helps him. after an hour the passerby asks: are you sure you lost the key
here? the frisian says: no, i lost it back there. but here is the only
place where is light.

best
rupert


On Sun, Jan 17, 2016 at 4:41 PM, Adam Wight <adam.m.wi...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Charging Google for computing power is a Quixotic business model.
>
> For comparison, Google's own approach to this same problem, when the N$A
> wants to run so many ongoing searches that it would vaporize a little
> section of the Columbia River, is to lease a search appliance cluster to
> the agencies in question.[1]
>
> We could easily take the same approach, providing a near-realtime feed of
> dumps and a basic appliance which can render pages and provide API
> endpoints.  If the reduced bandwidth needs and better control over the
> process isn't enough to incentivize our biggest customers, we could give
> them extra encouragement by throttling direct access to our services.
>
> Breaking even would be a nice target either way, it seems like any
> "monetization" of access is at best just a charitable subsidy in disguise,
> and not a long-term win.
>
>
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Search_Appliance
>
> https://support.google.com/earthenterprise/?hl=en#topic=2802998
>
> Speculation on why GEE was recently deprecated, lessons we might learn:
> http://geospatialworld.net/Professional/ViewBlog.aspx?id=415
>
>
> Adam Wight
>
> mw:user:adamw
>
>
> On Jan 16, 2016 6:12 PM, "Denny Vrandecic" <dvrande...@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
>
> > I find it rather surprising, but I very much find myself in agreement
> with
> > most what Andreas Kolbe said on this thread.
> >
> > To give a bit more thoughts: I am not terribly worried about current
> > crawlers. But currently, and more in the future, I expect us to provide
> > more complex and this expensive APIs: a SPARQL endpoint, parsing APIs,
> etc.
> > These will be simply expensive to operate. Not for infrequent users -
> say,
> > to the benefit of us 70,000 editors - but for use cases that involve tens
> > or millions of requests per day. These have the potential of burning a
> lot
> > of funds to basically support the operations of commercial companies
> whose
> > mission might or might not be aligned with our.
> >
> > Is monetizing such use cases really entirely unthinkable? Even under
> > restrictions like the ones suggested by Andreas, or other such
> restrictions
> > we should discuss?
> > On Jan 16, 2016 3:49 PM, "Risker" <risker...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Hmm.  The majority of those crawlers are from search engines - the very
> > > search engines that keep us in the top 10 of their results (and often
> in
> > > the top 3), thus leading to the usage and donations that we need to
> > > survive. If they have to pay, then they might prefer to change their
> > > algorithm, or reduce the frequency of scraping (thus also failing to
> > catch
> > > updates to articles including removal of vandalism in the lead
> > paragraphs,
> > > which is historically one of the key reasons for frequently crawling
> the
> > > same articles).  Those crawlers are what attracts people to our sites,
> to
> > > read, to make donations, to possibly edit.  Of course there are lesser
> > > crawlers, but they're not really big players.
> > >
> > > I'm at a loss to understand why the Wikimedia Foundation should take on
> > the
> > > costs and indemnities associated with hiring staff to create a for-pay
> > API
> > > that would have to meet the expectations of a customer (or more than
> one
> > > customer) that hasn't even agreed to pay for access.  If they want a
> > > specialized API (and we've been given no evidence that they do), let
> THEM
> > > hire the staff, pay them, write the code in an appropriately
> open-source
> > > way, and donate it to the WMF with the understanding that it could be
> > > modified as required, and that it will be accessible to everyone.
> > >
> > > It is good that the WMF has studied the usage patterns.  Could a link
> be
> > > given to the report, please?  It's public, correct?  This is exactly
> the
> > > point of transparency.  If only the WMF has the information, then it
> > gives
> > > an excuse for the community's comments to be ignored "because they
> don't
> > > know the facts".  So let's lay out all the facts on the table, please.
> > >
> > > Risker/Anne
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 16 January 2016 at 15:06, Vituzzu <vituzzu.w...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Thank you for sharing this but, above all, to focus on digging real
> > data.
> > > >
> > > > IMHO we shouldn't forget our mission, so licenses must be as free as
> > > > possible. Turning into something "more closed" would definitely
> deplete
> > > one
> > > > of the most valuable source (the open source world) of volunteering
> we
> > > have.
> > > >
> > > > Crawlers' owner should definitely share our increasing expenses but
> any
> > > > kind of agreement with them should include ways to improve our
> > userbase.
> > > > I'm wondering about an agreement with Google (or any other player) to
> > add
> > > > an "edit" button to knowledge graph. Sort of a "knowledge vs. users"
> > > > agreement.
> > > >
> > > > So, we definitely need a long term strategy which the Foundation will
> > > > pursue in *negotiating* with anyone who wants a big scale access to
> > *our
> > > > resources* (while access to our knowledge will have no limits, as
> > usual).
> > > >
> > > > Vito
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Il 16/01/2016 19:21, Lila Tretikov ha scritto:
> > > >
> > > >> To share some context of the discussion the board had around this
> -- I
> > > >> don't think the minutes give enough detail. APIs -- as we are freely
> > and
> > > >> rapidly creating them today are important, but are not quite at the
> > core
> > > >> of
> > > >> the issue we are facing.
> > > >>
> > > >> Today Wikimedia is the largest internet channel for open free
> > knowledge
> > > in
> > > >> the world. But the trends are against us. We have to face them
> > together.
> > > >> We
> > > >> have to have the answers on how. The strategic discussion next week
> > will
> > > >> help guide us.
> > > >>
> > > >> Over the last year we looked at the trends in Wikimedia traffic,
> > > internet
> > > >> as a whole and user behaviors. It took a lot of research. When we
> > > started
> > > >> the process we have not had solid internal data about unique
> visitors
> > or
> > > >> human vs. crawler usage on the site. For a top 10 website this is a
> > big
> > > >> issue; it hurts our ability to make smart decisions. We've learned a
> > > lot.
> > > >>
> > > >> We found data that supports Leigh's point -- our permissive license
> > > >> supports our core value, we are (I know I am) here for free
> knowledge.
> > > Yet
> > > >> it allows others to use the content in ways that truncates,
> simplifies
> > > and
> > > >> reduces it. More importantly this type of reuse separates our
> readers
> > > from
> > > >> our site, disconnecting readers from our contributors (no edit
> > buttons)
> > > >> and
> > > >> ultimately reduces traffic. Is this a problem? I'd like to hear if
> > > people
> > > >> on this list see it as such. And how we sustain contributions over
> > time.
> > > >>
> > > >> Meanwhile estimated half of our hosting is used to support crawlers
> > that
> > > >> scan our content. This has an associated cost in infrastructure,
> > power,
> > > >> servers, employees to support some well-funded organizations. The
> > > content
> > > >> is used for a variety of commercial purposes, sometimes having
> nothing
> > > to
> > > >> do with putting our contributor's work in front of more readers.
> > Still,
> > > we
> > > >> can say this is tangentially supportive of our mission.
> > > >>
> > > >> As these two trends increase without our intervention, our traffic
> > > decline
> > > >> will accelerate, our ability to grow editors, content and cover
> costs
> > > will
> > > >> decline as well.
> > > >>
> > > >> The first question on the upcoming consultation next week will be
> > > squarely
> > > >> on this. Please help us. API conversation is a consequence of this
> > > >> challenge. If we were to build more for reuse: APIs are a good way
> to
> > do
> > > >> so. If we are to somehow incentivize users of SIri to come back to
> > > >> Wikipedia, what would we need to do? Should we improve our site so
> > more
> > > >> people come to us directly as the first stop? How do we bring people
> > > into
> > > >> our world vs. the world of commercial knowledge out there? How do we
> > > fund
> > > >> this if the people moved to access our content through other
> > interfaces
> > > (a
> > > >> trend that has been accelerating)?
> > > >>
> > > >> Those are the core questions we need to face. We will have to have
> > some
> > > >> uncomfortable, honest discussions as we test our hypothesis this
> year.
> > > The
> > > >> conversation next week is a good start to prioritize those. Please
> > join
> > > >> it.
> > > >>
> > > >> Lila
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> On Sat, Jan 16, 2016 at 6:11 AM, Leigh Thelmadatter <
> > > osama...@hotmail.com
> > > >> >
> > > >> wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >> If we are concerned about Google taking unfair advantage of
> Wikipedia,
> > > one
> > > >>> simple solution is to allow content donations with a non-commercial
> > > >>> restriction. Right now, the concept of "free" include commercial
> use.
> > > An
> > > >>> added bonus to this is that we would get a lot more institutional
> > > >>> donations
> > > >>> of content if we allowed an non-commercial option.
> > > >>> My problem with allowing for paying for "premium access" is that we
> > are
> > > >>> allowing Google to have a priviledged position.  There is no way
> > around
> > > >>> that.
> > > >>> What is the impetus behind this proposal? Its not like we are
> lacking
> > > >>> money.  And limiting growth of the Foundation is not a bad thing...
> > at
> > > >>> least not to the community.
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>> To: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > > >>>> From: ricordisa...@openmailbox.org
> > > >>>> Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 14:13:06 +0100
> > > >>>> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freemiumly
> > > share
> > > >>>> in the sum of all knowledge." XD
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> Il 16/01/2016 10:23, Pete Forsyth ha scritto:
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>>> I'm interested to hear some perspectives on the following line of
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>> thinking:
> > > >>>
> > > >>>> Lisa presented some alternative strategies for revenue needs for
> the
> > > >>>>> Foundation, including the possibility of charging for premium
> > access
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>> to the
> > > >>>
> > > >>>> services and APIs, expanding major donor and foundation
> fundraising,
> > > >>>>> providing specific services for a fee, or limiting the Wikimedia
> > > >>>>> Foundation's growth. The Board emphasized the importance of
> keeping
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>> free
> > > >>>
> > > >>>> access to the existing APIs and services, keeping operational
> growth
> > > in
> > > >>>>> line with the organization's effectiveness, providing room for
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>> innovation
> > > >>>
> > > >>>> in the Foundation's activities, and other potential fundraising
> > > >>>>>
> > > >>>> strategies.
> > > >>>
> > > >>>> The Board asked Lila to analyze and develop some of these
> potential
> > > >>>>> strategies for further discussion at a Board meeting in 2016.
> > > >>>>> Source: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Minutes/2015-11-07
> > > >>>>> -Pete[[User:Peteforsyth]]
> > > >>>>> _______________________________________________
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