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28 December 2012, 10:22

Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million

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The Wikimedia Foundation, the steward organisation behind the Wikipedia project, has concluded its annual fund-raiser with the announcement that $25 million have been raised from 145,573 donors to keep the online encyclopaedia advertising-free. The money raised will pay for improvements to the MediaWiki software that runs the site, server infrastructure and projects to increase the number of Wikipedia editors globally.

This years fundraising campaign ran on the English version of Wikipedia in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for nine days, which constitutes the shortest fund-raising campaign initiated by the Foundation to date. Last year, a similar campaign raised $20 million in 46 days.

For this year's campaign, the Wikimedia Foundation took over the header used on pages of the encyclopaedia to present its requests and it says it will use the same format in another short fund-raising campaign to benefit the international versions of Wikipedia in April 2013. Details of the Foundation's budget can be found in its 2011-12 Annual ReportPDF.

An interesting overview over the content that dominated the online encyclopaedia, at least popularity-wise, in 2012 give the statistics compiled by software engineer Johan Gunnarsson. According to Gunnarsson, the three most popular articles on the English version of Wikipedia for 2012 were the entries for Facebook, wiki and deaths in 2012. With the exception of the article on the alleged end of the world on 21 December, which made third place, and Google's entry, the rest of the top ten list is made up of pages for several blockbuster movies, a best-selling book and a boy band that lost the UK X Factor.

The full list of top 100 articles on the English language Wikipedia in 2012 is a good cross-section of the memes and current affairs of the year with entries for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney neatly framing PSY's Gangnam Style and the 2012 Summer Olympics. The entry for Wikipedia itself made it to number 27 while Steve Jobs reached sixty fourth position. Generally, a relatively low number of technology-related topics as opposed to articles of general pop culture interest can be observed throughout the list.


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