While browsing ESPN Mobile on my mobile phone, I’ve been hit lately with text ads teasing me to “Get WikiMobile on Your CU500!”
My first instinct was to clickthru. I love Wikipedia and use it all the time. I’ve contributed content. I’ve also donated to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that keeps the juggernaut wiki afloat. I’m also surprised I’ve never used it on my phone considering how adaptable it is to small text screens, ala Snap Previews WikiShots.
But when I click through, I see “Get Wikimobile, Cool Tool, $2.99 per month.” Now I am aware of a very cool-looking wiki production tool called WikiMobile sold from an EU based site. This is clearly different, as you can see from the teaser-text at right. Of course, the fact that I’m supposed to want to by $3 so I can find out who “Britney’s exes” were is where most 3G mobile-Web-browsing Americans are going to feel insulted. For me, its just depressing to confirm that the open source, mob-managed, infinitely free and user-supported Wikipedia is being exploited by AT&T.
Does AT&T’s WikiMobile have anything to do with Wikimedia other than abusing Wikipedia’s GNU license to republish the content for profit? I can’t find anything anywhere stating that Wikimedia is complicit in this agreement and/or receives a cut of the profits. Assuming that if it smells like bullshit and looks like it, it may as well darn be, I implore Wikimedia to make Wikipedia publicly available as optimized for the mobile Web. Hey Colbert, you got my back?
PostScript: While I do subscribe to AT&T Wireless, I am not a DSL customer and am not subject to those sketchy, infringing terms of service. That said, you’re welcome to terminate my service, T, if’n you really are that stupid.