Wikipedia Zero has enabled potential Wikipedia users to access their favorite source of information on their phone while their carriers charged them zero mobile data fees. According to the outlet, Wikimedia has stopped refreshing partnerships with mobile carriers in those countries and killed old alliances.
The reason? Wikimedia cites a “significant drop-off” in user participation, which is a key factor in keeping the initiative alive. Wikimedia also said that Wikipedia Zero will go offline for several other reasons, of which not all were necessarily bad.
Wikipedia Zero’s Popularity Problem
One of the reasons is low awareness of the portal in the developing countries. In those areas of the world, people are not as accustomed to Wikipedia as their counterparts in Europe or North America are. There have been efforts to popularize the website but they were too little too late.
Another reason is that mobile data fees have significantly dropped since 2012, which means that users in developing nations can easily access Wikipedia even without the need of Wikipedia Zero. In other words, users no longer need a special exemption to access the site because they can afford it to.
People familiar with the situation underlined that Wikimedia would not renounce similar concepts in the future. The organization now has “several ideas” on its mind especially after the popularity of the website grew in the developing world.
The only bad news is that the shut down of Wikipedia Zero will maybe alienate users that did benefit from the project. They will now either have to pay to access Wikipedia on their phones or not use it at all.
Image Source: Wikimedia