Locally based how-to wiki crows about 50,000th article

wiki-howIn case you were wondering how to obtain a copy of your birth certificate in New Mexico, then you could refer to a new article posted at wikihow.com, which would be the Web sites 50,000th such article, and the occasion for a celebratory press release from the Menlo Park venture begun four years ago by Jack Herrick with the “goal of building a freely available, how-to manual in many languages.”

Included among the featured articles on the sites homepage at the moment are such practical instructions as how to set up a digital television converter box and antenna and how to toilet train your cat, both of which we personally are interested in. Then there are other topics that don’t hit home with us, but might for you, such as directions on how to clean Ugg boots or to switch from Clarinet to Tenor saxophone.

The site has seen a “more than 100% readership growth”, with more than 124 million unique visitors from 239 different countries, up form 60 million last year unique visitors last year, according to the press release

It makes the site the 135th most popular site in the U.S., according to Quantcast.com, and one of “the most highly trafficked startups without venture capital funding.” The lack of VC funding is by design, by the way.

So how does wikiHow.com get by?

“(R)ather than ask our users for contributions, we have chosen to display tasteful, non-obnoxious advertising on the website. We do not have pop-up ads, pop-under ads, spyware, or other scumware. Our advertising is highly minimal. In fact, we don’t show advertising at all to registered users. We think that tasteful advertising is the most unobtrusive way to fund our operations.”

So is it a non-profit? No. The company describes itself as a “hybrid organization”: “a for-profit company focused on creating a global public good in accordance with our mission. In short, wikiHow is run as a community service first and a business second.”

Working as we do for an industrty that’s becoming less “for profit” all the time, we imagine that such “hybrid organizations” related to information will proliferate.


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  • wikiHowl, the How-to Manual YOU Can Laugh At congratulates wikiHow on its meteoric rise!

  • rebecca

    I love wikihow!