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Wiki Contributor Compensation Challenges

MoneyAs the Wikipedia and other great wiki-based resources continue to evolve, the question of contributor compensation always seems to come up eventually.  Should contributors be paid?  If so, how much?  How would you effectively track the system?  Why would someone want to contribute for free?

The open source software development world has dealt with these questions for many years now and it continues to thrive.  Even commercially successful companies like Red Hat have figured out how to build an effective business model around the work of contributors, so there's no reason to expect the content world would be much different.

I recently came across this excellent summary by Evan Prodromou, co-founder of the popular Wikitravel site.  Evan does a fantastic job of explaining his point of view and why he believes that paying contributors is a bad idea.  I think the two most important aspects of this are openness and reinvestment in the community, both of which Evan summarizes quite effectively.

Comments

Jani Patokallio

You might be interested in taking a look at Wikitravel Press (http://wikitravelpress.com), cofounded by Evan, which applies the principles above by hiring editors to polish up Wikitravel content for use in printed books.

Cheers,
-j.

Joe Wikert

Hi Jani. Yes, I saw and posted about Wikitravel Press earlier this week. It's a great idea!

L.L. Barkat

Speaking of wikis, I just finished The New Rules of Marketing and PR (very pleased with it and highlighting it at my presentation at the Mount Hermon Writers conference next week!)... anyway, just finished New Rules, which gave me so many ideas for empowering customer evangelists. I thought you'd be interested in seeing this, for instance, which was inspired while reading New Rules:

http://www.zimbio.com/Stone+Crossings

In fact, the top piece you see when you get there, the Blog Post Tool Kit was also born through reading NR. So... I loved the book and I'm its new customer evangelist. ;-)

L.L. Barkat

Why, yes, this does have something to do with wikis, which is where I started the comment above.

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