Google's Brin, Wife Float Wikipedia With $500,000
Google's Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki donated $500,000 to help keep the popular Wikipedia online encyclopedia free of advertising.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki Nov. 18 doled out a $500,000 grant to the Wikimedia Foundation, the proprietor of Wikipedia.
The service, which is also facing a huge backlog of editorial work, relies on donations to keep afloat and an image of Founder Jimmy Wales asking for donations often appears at the top of the Website's pages. Wales, whose latest message noted that everyone who came to Wikipedia donated $5 the funding would be over in a single day, wrote an appeal letter: "Google might have close to a million servers. Yahoo has something like 13,000 staff. We have 679 servers and 95 staff. Wikipedia is the #5 site on the Web and serves 450 million different people every month - with billions of page views. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia." Wales' point is that in order for Wikipedia to keep operating freely without taking money from advertisers, which would love to spread their brand messaging across Wikipedia's well-trafficked pages, the Wikimedia Foundation requires donations to keep paying the staff and keep the lights on. Hence the importance of Brin and Wojcicki's large grant, which comes after Google donated $2 million to help keep Wikipedia running in February 2010.
Brin and Wojcicki, who co-founded genetics company 23andMe, offered the funds under the banner of the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, an organization that funded the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is researching a cure for Parkinson's disease. Through 23andMe, Brin learned he has a genetic predisposition toward Parkinson's disease, a fact about which wrote about on his personal blog in 2008.