Some well-known American businesses have ostracized Wikileaks, even though the secrets-spilling organization has not been criminally charged for its leaks of classified U.S. State Department cables. Grounds for legal action against it remain murky, but that hasn't stopped some companies of accusing it of engaging in illegal activity as an excuse to dump Wikileaks as a customer.
Amazon shut down server access to secrets-spilling website Wikileaks, after pressured by Sen. Joe Lieberman. Next, PayPal, Visa and Mastercard cut off the group's ability to raise money from donations. A small New Hampshire company, everyDNS, cut off ties with the website, allegedly to protect its own network from crashing.
In all the hubbub, however, a Philadelphia startup has seized an opportunity to support Wikileaks -- and, of course, it's now getting some free marketing in the process. Ah, the land of the free -- and capitalism. (Facebook and Twitter, to their credit, have made statements that they are not closing off the site from its services -- for now. But financial support for Wikileaks, (what Xipwire is enabling) in some ways, is perhaps even more critical at the moment.)
XipWire Inc. allows people to transmit cash using their mobile phone's text messaging capabilities. The company has waived any fees associated with its service to support Wikileaks. People can make donations in $10 increments either from their website or from a mobile phone running their application.
I'm waiting to hear back from Xipwire folks; hoping to interview them soon for some more details. Stay tuned.
Just got off the phone with Sharif Alexandre and Sybil Lindsay, of Xipwire and here are some more details:
Presently, Xipwire has received hundreds of donations to Wikileaks. The company has yet to establish formal ties with Wikileaks, so it is keeping the money in an account, and will transfer it when they connect with someone from the Website.
"They've been a little hard to get ahold of directly," Alexandre said.
Alexandre said Xipwire works with several charitable organizations and he believes people should have the right to donate to the causes they believe in, without interference from corporations.
"It's a completely different story if they (Wikileaks) were illegal on some level, then definitely that's a line we would not cross," Alexandre said. "But they haven't done anything different than The New York Times and The Guardian."
Alexandre said that the notion of his firm, which launched in May and has raised $500,000 in startup angel funding, is getting free publicity for its stance was a secondary concern. He said he is just as concerned about receiving negative publicity, since many believe Wikileaks is engaging in at least improper activity.
"We're fully aware that not everyone likes what Wikileaks is," Alexandre said. "But we are prepared to accept the consequences."
[FYI: I first learned about Xipwire's involvement from The Raw Story.]