Last March the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia and other similar projects, announced that they were working on a paid version of the encyclopedia for companies: Wikimedia Enterprise. This service aims to monetize the use of its huge database by companies such as Google or Amazon, which so far use that information for free to power products such as Siri, Alexa, or Alphabet’s search engine.
The new service, they explained, is based on an API that will improve the segmentation of Wikipedia content in a much more understandable way for the machines that use it massively, thus offering companies that hire it a tool that will streamline the transmission of data and facilitate the automation of its use.
Now, the Wikimedia Foundation has just announced that Enterprise is now available to all companies wishing to use its services, and has shared the annual fees for its different plans. Pricing is set based on the method of data delivery: from $25,000 per year for on-demand data access and from $50,000 per year for bulk data feed delivery. There is a third plan, real-time data delivery, for which they have not shared amounts, so it is understood that each company will have to negotiate based on the volume they use. The packages can be combined.
Wikimedia explained in March that there was a very high barrier to entry for the use of the contents of the free encyclopedia beyond the common uses of reading and editing, which is why they have decided to structure their unstructured data to facilitate its reuse by companies wishing to use it in their services.
Among the improvements they have introduced for this purpose, and focused on companies, are the creation of a machine-readable and consistent JSON schema, daily information updates – currently done every two weeks-, hourly activity exports, or guaranteed uptime with no speed limit. In addition, a Wikimedia team will be in charge of filtering the content before sending it to customers to prevent them from including false information, a task that until now has been performed by employees of the companies that reuse the data.
As for use cases, Wikimedia points out that companies will be able to use this new tool to improve services such as voice assistants, research studies, news reports, information search, or the creation of knowledge graphs.
Wikipedia will remain free for users
Wikimedia has stressed that this new service will in no way affect individual Wikipedia users, who will be able to continue accessing the digital encyclopedia free of charge, as before.
Similarly, they have explained that not all companies that want to use Wikipedia information will have to contract an Enterprise package since Wikimedia understands this new project as a premium service aimed at organizations that need to make massive and rapid use of the encyclopedia’s information.
“The entire corpus of Wikimedia content has always been and will continue to be, available for reuse in various forms at no cost. Wikimedia projects are, have always been, and always will be free. Use of this offering will not be required for commercial content reuse; businesses can continue to use the current tools available at no cost,” the Foundation said in March.
Today’s launch of Wikimedia Enterprise is a historic milestone for the foundation that owns Wikipedia since it is the first project they have created as a business. All the others, more than ten, are non-profit and are financed exclusively through donations.