Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, is about to turn 10 this week. The website was founded by Jimmy Wales on Jan. 15, 2001, after he became unsuccessful at launching a traditional online encyclopedia called "Newpedia".

"Wikipedia turned out to be more successful than anybody ever imagined or ever even aspired for it to be," Wikipedia's chief executive Sue Gardner told the AFP“. It took on a life of its own and became this hugely popular thing.

Ten years later, the site states it has 440 million unique visitors each month. The popular reference site is available in more than 250 languages and features around 26 million entries. On top of that, it's edited by roughly 100,000 individuals from around the globe.

Now that Wikipedia is a household name in the world, Wales is aiming to find a foothold for Wikipedia in developing countries. Specifically, he's opening an office in India, which will be the site's first branch outside of the U.S.

"Our goal is to reach people all around the world with Wikipedia and to make it possible for them to access the encyclopedia," Gardner said. "We all know that people are coming online in massive numbers, particularly through movie phones, and so we have a new strategic effort to focus our energies on these developing countries so, as those people come online, Wikipedia is there for them to use."

In what you might call a testament to the non-profit's popularity, Wikipedia recently raised $16 million in its shortest fundraiser ever. More than 500,000 donations came in from 140 different countries, with an average donation of $22. That's more than double the 230,000 donations made in 2009. Wikipedia will use the money to fund various infrastructure costs, staffing, program support, grants, and other costs.


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