This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
That is as true today as it ever was.
I think that that many .com companies may appear to offer something for nothing, but the reality is that they use the "free service" to draw in users and build a following, like giving free coke to build addiction.
Then one day the users all get an email that says that from now on there will be a two tier service; a basic service that provides a minimum of facilities, just enough to be better than nothing, and a premium service to where some of the benefits previously enjoyed for free have now migrated and where lots of added content and functionality is to be found.
The great advantage of the modern technologies is that so many benefits are actually in the software and not the hardware. That means that product differentiation is almost limitless and is the foundation of what Scot Adams (Dilbert creator) calls a "confusopoly". It also means that there is no change in the costs, it is "just software" and software costs amortised over a dozen users is a huge burden but amortised over many millions, it is nothing.
The trick for Google is that people searching search for free but people who want to be found are now prey to a variety of different SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) companies who may or may not be able to improve your rankings and if they do may not do so for very long, often not as long as the contract.
There are many search engines but most people (being lazy) probably use Google or Yahoo.
The really successful .coms are those who managed to survive long enough, with a goodies laden free service, to become almost indispensable and almost a monopoly supplier before sending out the final demand letters.
Too many web services compete with little or no differentiation and go commercial too soon and hence do not do well.
Try searching for a pub with live music or where to eat out and you find there are too many websites we too few signed up sub-scribers (pubs) to offer real information.
On the other hand Google itself is free (to searchers) as are many other search engines.
Bright Planet is not (and the interesting thing is that much of the internet content is unmapped - who knows what is lurking waiting to be discovered?
But you won't find it with Google).
Thus with climategate we discover problems with Google and Wikipedia.
A better (un-tampered with?) search engine would appear to be one I never heard of before, Bing.
Wiki has an ongoing credibility problem that it so far is surviving but for how much longer?
The cut rate set-up was designed to exploit the free services of both contributors and editors.
But there is no such thing as a free lunch and from the ability of anyone to write about anything (honestly or not) and its reliance on editors to clean it all up which then opened the door to the likes of the ever helpful and workaholic types like William Connely.... comes a yawing chasm of vulnerability; we see that old Marxist approach at work, to find and manipulate, using a very few people, the key avenues of control.
A few "helpful" people can quickly take over an organisation and find themselves masters of the universe.
I don't doubt that some .coms may well appear and even actually be, in some form, benevolent or even "communist" but not in the way meant here. In the end, it is power and money, not ideology.
One persons ideology is another persons road to power. Green ideals or "animal rights" are a tool in the hands of anarchists and marxists and others; they do not scruple to use other peoples ideologies to further their own aims.
After looking into this a bit further, there may be some mileage in a 'follow the money' argument against Wikipedia. There are some rumours that Wikipedia's financial arrangements are not entirely above board. Wikipedia tends to request several million more dollars per year in funding from donors than some people think it actually needs to cover its running costs, raising the question of where this extra money is going.
This link to an article called "Top 10 Reasons Not to Donate to Wikipedia" gives Wikipedia's suspicious financial arrangements as being the top reason for why people should think twice about donating to Wikipedia.
The URL appears to be truncated, a bit of trial and error gives the full URL - simply add "_to_Wikipedia" (case sensitive) to the end.
When I wrote the message the full URL was inserted Lee. I'm using an Opera web browser and the full URL can be seen in Opera.
But to investigate what you're saying I checked out how the message board is viewed using an Internet Explorer browser (which is probably the most popular web browser in use today) and it looks like the URL is being truncated in IE. Possibly this problem could be mentioned to the technical people running the Bravenet forums.
As the principal author of that itemized list that calls into question the Wikimedia Foundation's bogus financing practices, I can offer a quick, easy-to-remember link if you're interested in sharing the site with others:
Every year, the lies and the cover-ups that emanate from the WMF headquarters just get bigger and bolder. It's almost comical at this point, and I feel sorry for anyone who wasted hard-earned money by donating it to this corrupt institution.