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W3C Allows Corporate Sponsors. Good Idea or Bad Idea?

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The World Wide Web Consortium said earlier this year that they'd start inviting corporations to buy sponsorship packages that promote the company and associate its brand and offerings alongside the W3C's mission.  The money will be used to "W3C will use the donations to support training, documentation, tools, and outreach to Web professionals," says the W3C.  We all hope that will mean faster development and standardization of new web specs and a more competent W3C.  Today, the W3C announced it's first two sponsors: Google (Gold) and Adobe (Silver).

What Google bought:

  • W3C Membership "Value Planning Session" with W3C Senior Staff
  • Full day technology seminar
  • Featured on Sponsor recognition page (logo, up to 500 words of text, and 3 images; replaces Silver version)
  • Additional TPAC/AC benefis: no attendance fees for TPAC or AC meetings; Sponsor mention in press releases or media advisories; Table top display at social event.
  • Identified as a sponsor for any Workshop that W3C organizes, up to 5 per year.
  • All the silver package

Amount: 100K USD annually

What Adobe bought:

  • Participation in W3C sponsored CIO round table and other special events
  • Sponsor logo on W3C home page associated with special event sponsorships such as TPAC and AC meeting (limited time on home page)
  • Featured on Sponsor recognition page (logo, up to 250 words of text, and 1 image)
  • Designated W3C sponsor at annual TPAC and AC meetings (Logo on event material Web pages, signage, printed and electronic communications materials and on-screen during breaks)
  • No registration fee at annual TPAC
  • Identified as a sponsor for any Workshop that W3C organizes, up to 2 per year.

Amount: 50K USD annually

There is also a Platinum sponsorship that no one has gotten, which is surprising because these amounts look like chump change to companies like Google and Adobe. 

The only question remaining is: Will the introduction of sponsorships (although they're small now) endanger the vendor-agnostic position of the W3C?  I mean, they do already have developers from many of these large tech companies already in the group, so maybe not.  But, is the W3C going down a slippery slope?