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Is Wikipedia going commercial?

“When it began 11 years ago, Wikipedia represented utopian ideals: power dispersed more evenly than any democracy, participation open to anyone and work done solely for the promotion of knowledge. But utopian ideals often become diluted when put into practice on a large scale and inevitably fail. Today, to the dismay of many die-hard Wikipedians — the tenacious, voluntary editors who are the site’s backbone — the site also attracts profit-seeking writers. One such writer is Soraya Field Fiorio, a 27-year-old entertainment-relations consultant who has a sideline in writing commissioned Wikipedia articles for musicians and writers. “Just like when I write press releases, clients say, ‘I want this. I don’t want that.’ So it’s really part of a promotional package,” she said. She charges $30 an hour to edit an existing article, and will write a page from scratch for around $250. It’s not surprising that musicians, writers, artists or anyone else seeking a spot in the public eye will pay for the service: The website is often the No. 1  hit on Google, and the articles can function as the key component of a publicity strategy.”


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