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Googlepedia Is A Good Move

Jeremy Pepper
Expert Author
Published: 2005-02-16

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News flash: John Dvorak has a conspiracy column that makes no sense. He suggests that Google's support of Wikipedia ...

Is Google's support of Wikipedia good for the free online encyclopedia? Discuss at WebProWorld.

... hosting will see, hear and do evil. According to Usenet analogies, corporate incentives will drive them to neglect, or worse, block Microsoft crawlers. This theory misses both the context of the cause and the cause that markets.

Back during the Hurricane season, a big one was coming and Jimmy Wales reached out to Socialtext to see if we could provide interim hosting. We scrambled to see if our tiny startup could help, we would have in an instant, but it was a bigger operation than us at the time.

I asked him if I could share this private conversation now, because it helps provide a context of genuine need for a community project. Wikimedia has one real underlying cost and risk, Google may help them address it and unleash peer production for the masses.

Why would Google support Wikipedia? Not out of goodness of their hearts. Wikipedia represents the best of the web and the best in all of us. It produces social goods that any company involved in the web should be aligned with. What's more, Wikipedia isn't a site, its a community, one with a history and a culture of openness.

Any moves a supporter of the community would make against the social contract would spark virulent reaction. These interdependencies will keep parties in check, and the corporate world is well aware of the profit motives of social responsibility.

John is right to keep Google, or any powerful company, in check. But this is not the storm to build against them.

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About the Author:
Jeremy Pepper is the CEO and founder of POP! Public Relations, a public relations firm based in Arizona, USA.

He authors the popular Musings from POP! Public Relations blog which offers Jeremy's opinions and views - on public relations, publicity and other things.

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