Statement from Wikinut.com

This statement outlines some important changes to the operating model of Wikinut. It is very likely that these changes will not be popular, and I expect that many users (and even moderators) will decide that they no longer wish to use the site. But please be aware that we have thought long and hard about this and are trying to keep our unique content online, even though we expect heavy criticism from some users. Our only other choice is to shut the site completely.

The Plan

We will be making the payment run on 10/Dec/15 as planned, and will be reverting to paying at a minimum balance of £5 as outlined in our T&Cs. We have been making payments at a goodwill level of £2.50 for some time to boost user engagement but won't be doing this going forward.

We will be removing the revenue share for new page views and user activity from 10/Dec/15. This will mean all users will stop earning revenue from this date. For clarity this is best thought of as Wikinut becoming a free authors community, there will be no revenue share scheme from this date.

We will make a final payment run on 10/Jan/16. This will cover an extended period and will pay all revenue up to the final earnings on the 10/Dec/15.

New sign-ups will be suspended on 10/Dec/15 while we update our pages to reflect the changes. These updates may take several days to complete. A prominent notice of the changes will be placed on the user account page. Sign-ups will be enabled once pages are updated to explain the revenue share has ceased.

We will be removing old reporting data and draft articles from the system. We have been struggling with errors (disappearing articles during editing in particular) caused by the sheer volume of data we are handling. Upgrading our systems would be costly, whereas expiring old data will allow the underlying problem to be fixed on our current platform.

The content licence users have granted us allows us to keep hosting pages after these changes. However, we are aware some users will wish to remove their pages. To facilitate this a simple to use "Delete your account" option will be added to the user account page. This option will be available to all users immediately.

During Jan 2016 we will be adding a function to allow users to export their articles from Wikinut, and to easily download a complete archive to their computer.

We will be appointing a new moderator who is a family member and long time Wikinut reader. She has offered to help so that new pages can be published if current moderators are not willing to continue.

Summary of your options

  • Carry on as before, but without payments (i.e. as a publishing community)
  • Stop actively using Wikinut, but leave content available for others to read. No action is needed.
  • Leave Wikinut entirely and delete your profile and pages.

Why are doing this?

The simple answer is that we cannot afford to continue. Wikinut has never been a profitable business and income from advertising is decreasing every month. Widespread fraud in the online advert market and the increased use of adblockers are a serious problem. In addition Wikinut has been plagued by fraudulent users seeking to steal content and manipulate page views and advert clicks. Wikinut is inundated with fake traffic from Botnets every day. We have devoted far more energy to combating these frauds than we have to running the site and serving legitimate users. And whilst we have been very successful in our policing enough frauds have used the site to leave us unable to negotiate deals with many of the larger advertisers.

Removing the revenue share will remove the incentive for the frauds, and will drastically reduce our monthly costs. This will allow the site to stay online, even if it means we have less content and only a fraction of our normal users.

The original founder (Andrew) and technical lead (Sam) have not been active on Wikinut for some time. The site has never been financially successful, which limited the time we could spend working on it. The site was mostly left in the hands of our moderators, who have been exceptionally diligent and dedicated but had limited tools and options available to them. We are very aware that the moderators have largely become responsible for running the site and we regret that we have been so detached. It has not helped the site.

As part of these changes Andrew will be officially stepping away from Wikinut, formalising the current de-facto position.

In the 6 years the site has been active we have never missed a payment run. We have been making payments at half the published minimum balance to try and ensure as many authors as possible were paid. The operators have never drawn a salary or seen a return on the initial investment and development time. We feel that it is better to move forward and try to re-establish the community on a new and stable basis than to go offline.

If all goes well we will be able to reduce our costs to an absolute minimum and strike new relationships with more rewarding, higher quality and less intrusive advertisers.

But we understand that not everyone will want to come on this journey with us. We want to thank all of you all for your superb involvement so far. To those that decide to come forward with us - let us hope it is a bright future!

Have your say!

We have prepared a short survey and would appreciate your thoughts and comments on these changes. Please understand that we will be unable to answer individual comments or emails.

http://goo.gl/forms/3zQdgRyk2A

Thank you for your time.

Good luck and we wish you all a good holiday season.

Andrew & Sam

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