Wikipedia has met its fundraising goal of $6 million US with a bit to spare just days after founder Jimmy Wales made a personal pitch for donations.

Several slightly different figures appeared on Wikipedia pages late Thursday, but all of them were over the figure the free online encyclopedia said it needs to sustain the operation in 2008.

On Dec. 23, after the organization had been soliciting funds for months, it had slightly less than $4 million.

That day, Wales posted an open letter asking users to help keep the encyclopedia "free to use by anyone for any purpose."

More than 275 million people use the site every month, he said, and Wikipedia wanted to keep ads off its pages.

The site, backed by a U.S. charitable foundation, said the $6 million is needed to cover the cost of managing traffic on the web and improving the software that runs the site.

It has a paid staff of 23 people, but  the content is provided by volunteers who contribute articles — more than 11 million in 265 languages, Wales said.

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