The Wikimedia Foundation is starting a commercial service where it will ask big tech companies for money to pass on Wikipedia articles. Wikimedia Enterprise will launch later this year. It also makes tools such as APIs available for a fee.
The company Wikimedia Enterprise will sell Wikipedia’s content to tech companies, the founders say in an interview with Wired . This is information that search engines like Google or smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa use when users look up a term.
A free API is available for this, but it is rudimentary and according to Wikimedia, tech companies must deploy a lot of people and resources to use the data, for example by formatting data differently.
Wikimedia Enterprise has to provide this service for a fee. The data supplied can then be adjusted per company and customers can apply their own requirements. They also get access to customer service and speed guarantees. The existing free APIs for passing data will continue to exist, the founders say. Payment is therefore not mandatory.
Wikimedia Enterprise will be a separate service under the Wikimedia Foundation. The latter is the foundation that manages Wikipedia. A website has already been set up , but the service will not start until later in 2021. First, the company wants to talk to Wikipedia volunteers. However, the company is already in talks with tech companies. According to Wired, the first agreements for this could be reached around June.
The content that Wikimedia Enterprise must deliver is hosted on AWS. The Wikimedia foundation tells Wired that it does not expect Enterprise to become the largest revenue model in the future. Most of the income for the foundation will continue to come from donations and subsidies, and it should remain so in the future.