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Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million in record time

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The ninth annual fundraising campaign for the San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation, which supports online encyclopedia Wikipedia and related websites, collected $25 million in record time.

“I’m grateful that the Wikipedia fundraiser was so successful. Our supporters are wonderful, and without them we could not do the job of delivering free content worldwide,” Sue Gardner, executive director of the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, said Thursday in a news release.

The foundation said its 2012 campaign reaped $25 million from more than 1.2 million donors in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand during a nine-day span. By comparison, the 2011 campaign lasted 46 days. A fundraiser for Wikipedia sites in other countries will take place in April 2013.

The donated money helps Wikimedia run ad-free websites. The money also goes toward maintaining Wikipedia computer servers, boosting the number of Wikipedia editors, improving Wikimedia software and making Wikipedia available to people around the world who are new to the Internet.

According to comScore Inc.’s Media Metrix, Wikipedia and related websites attract more than 483 million unique visitors a month, making them the fifth most popular web property worldwide. Wikipedia sites are available in 285 languages. Wikipedia was founded in 2001.

In 2012, according to Swedish computer science student Johan Gunnarsson, the most viewed pages on English-language Wikipedia pages were:

1. Facebook – 32,647,942 views.

2. Wiki – 29,613,759 views.

3. Deaths in 2012 – 25,418,587 views.

4. One Direction (music group) – 22,351,637 views.

5. “The Avengers” (2012 film) – 22,268,644 views.

6. “Fifty Shades of Grey” – 21,779,423 views.

7. 2012 phenomenon – 20,619,920 views.

8. “The Dark Knight Rises” – 18,882,885 views.

9. Google – 18,508,719 views.

10. “The Hunger Games” – 18,431,626 views.

“It’s a bit of a headscratcher why a page about Facebook was so popular — far and away the biggest article of the year,” Liz Ganns wrote on AllThingsD.com. “Sure, Facebook itself is much used and much discussed. But this isn’t even a very good Wikipedia entry, as far as they go — it talks about competition with MySpace in the present tense, and cites two-year-old traffic stats.”

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