No Ads in Wikipedia Says Wales

Contrary to a news report that circulated in the blogosphere last week, Wikipedia has no plans to implement advertising on its burgeoning consumer generated encyclopedia.

That’s according to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who told ClickZ News he remains opposed to advertising on the voluminous reference site.

Wales said he was badly misquoted in a Times Online story published last week with the headline, “Wikipedia chief considers taking ads.”

The article characterizes Wales as anticipating a day when the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation will actively accept advertising. It quotes him as saying that despite community resistance to advertising, “at some point questions are going to be raised over the amount of money we are turning down.”

Reached on the phone Friday, he sounded a different note.

“There are no plans of any kind, no announcement, no change in stance,” he said. “What I said is something I’ve been saying for five years. We don’t believe we need advertising in order to survive. My view currently is that we’re much better off without the advertising. It’s better for our mission. It’s better for our fundraising.”

But Wales seemed to leave the doorway to ad-supported content open a crack. “The question is going to arise as to whether we could better pursue our charitable mission with the additional money [ads would bring],” he said. “We have never said there would absolutely never be ads on Wikipedia.”

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