Here’s another idea that would have made you rich if you had thought of it first (but didn’t.)
Brooklynites Aaron Wertheimer and Erez Safer are now making “citation-heavy” Wikipedia entries for 300 bucks via their new biz, My Wiki Pro.
Their clientele mainly includes small businesses and bourgeoning artists.
Many of the duo’s customers had tried to make Wikipedia pages themselves at one point, only to have them taken down for being too promotional, the Daily News notes.
Well, there’s that whole Wikipedia is THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA thing.
It’s not that making money is necessarily bad* — but there are key ethical concerns here.
If people are paying for content to be created about them, then the content should not be marketed as objective information such as an online encyclopedia entry. If this content does somehow wind up in this kind of medium, there should be a disclosure.
Unless we missed something, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Second, Wikipedia is a non-profit, so it operates based on donations. It’s not immediately clear whether the business is donating to Wikipedia.
So, we kinda wonder: Is My Wiki Pro donating to Wikipedia?
And, generally speaking: Should a for-profit venture that profits off a non-profit contribute to said charitable organization?
We’re reaching out to My Wiki Pro and Wikimedia for answers. We’ll update when we hear back.
(*Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosures: whenever people bring up questions about business ethics, they often get labeled — and summarily discredited — for being on one side or the other of the political spectrum. So, before the trolling begins, let’s be perfectly clear. Fuck no, I’m not on the right, but I sure as shit am not on the left, either. KTHXBAI)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 4, 2012