April 14, 2006
Earn Money With Pro Wiki

ProWiki is a WikiEngine written with WikiProviders in mind, who want to earn money with a high-quality wiki service. This page is written to show you our ways how to earn money with ProWiki. Of course, there may be more and different ways and we'll be happy if you explore them and let us know.

Not "Become Rich"

Note that this page is not named "how to become rich with wiki" because there is currently no indication that there is such a chance. Not even WardCunningham has become rich from wiki. But on the other hand ... if you like the wiki idea and if you are willing to learn and do a decent job, then you should be able to live from it. We'll support you doing so.

Work for Commissions

If you want to start small, you can cooperate with a ProWikiProvider who sells wikis. You can promote wikis and get wiki projects going. We suggest a 20-30% commission for this type of cooperation. If you do all the support work, including the initial layout and configuration, we suggest an additional 15-20% commission.

This means that you can build wiki know-how slowly, at your own speed, and become a WikiProvider or WikiConsultant eventually. Contact a provider of your choice from the ProWikiProviderList.


As a wiki provider you run a ProWikiServer to support at least 50-200 wiki customers, at monthly fees of $20-100 each. This gives you a raw income of $1.000-10.000 depending on your market, luck and abilities. You will need about the same number of free wikis for your own purposes, experimental, demonstration and testing systems. All this can run from one physical server although you might prefer to have two (e. g. for backups).

Typically you must:

  • rent one or more Linux servers for 20-50$ per month
  • be able to administrate the Linux servers (or pay more for managed servers and backups)
  • have good/excellent wiki know-how to advise customers and sell wikis
  • have good/excellent abilities to communicate in real life and online

Limiting Factors

Note that the wiki market is huge. Almost every professional and organisation can have an advantage from a wiki.

The first limiting factor is the wiki know-how. What can wiki do? What can we do with wiki? How can we bring our wiki know-how to the people who need it and to those who make the decisions.

The second limiting factor is our ability to adapt wiki to the specific needs of our customers. Only few want to write an encyclopedia or found an open online community. ProWiki has learned a lot of lessons since 2001 and offers more flexibility than any other wiki engine.

The Competition

The competition is not the problem, because we are so far from market saturation. The growth of the wiki depends solely on our ability to contact potential customers, understand their specific needs and translate wiki abilities into their "language". See WikiApplications.

Note that there are a lot of WikiFarms giving away free wikis, either for building momentum or for earning money from GoogleAds.They have to work with reduced feature sets to keep the server load low (for example disable searching). They have to simplify their message to a "just use wiki, wiki is great" because they can neither fill specific needs nor give human support. ProWiki could compete in this market, but it is no fun. We do not suggest that you do it.


Sooner or later organisations will understand that wiki is an important technology that must be taken seriously. At that time, probably starting 2009-2011, one will be able to earn money by working as a WikiConsultant advising customers and making designs for wiki communities and commmunity processes.

Currently there is no market for this because either (1) people think they are born clever to understand wiki intuitively or (2) people think that one just has to use MediaWiki to have guaranteed success. It will probably take 2-3 years until the understanding grows that these assumptions are wrong.

Note that cooperating in the ProWiki community puts you in a good position to work as a WikiConsultant eventually, because ProWiki focuses on high quality, social issues and specific applications.


At some time in the future (probably starting 2008-2009) wiki customers will understand that growing a wiki is less risky with the help of professional experts in the role of CommunityDirectors. These experts need the abilities of a WikiProvider to understand all technical issues, the abilities of a WikiConsultant to understand and translate the customer needs into the wiki system and community and they need good online communication capabilities to act in the communities and get the trust of the contributors.

Currently there is no market for this because there are hardly any wikis that get the necessary funding to have full-time CommunityDirectors working for the wiki communities.

Note that cooperating in the ProWiki community puts you in a good position to work as a CommunityDirector eventually, because ProWiki focuses on high quality, social issues and specific applications.