Searching for money that was left on the table
As much as I love Internet companies that forgo the obvious riches of online advertising -- think Craigslist and Wikipedia -- I know that I'm not the only one who wonders how much money those companies are leaving on the table in the noble pursuit of purity. It seems that no matter what I search for on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) these days, Wikipedia tends to be one of the first entries. Content companies would kill for that kind of placement on any Google page, and Wikipedia has it going on all over the popular search engine's result pages.

So the inner capitalist in me started beaming on news that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is working on a commercial search-engine project. No, it won't be part of Wikipedia itself. It is part of Wales' for-profit Wikia company. However, isn't it really just a matter of time before the community-driven search-engine venture works its way into Wikipedia itself?

Purity is a pretty lonely place, and even Craigslist isn't completely free of the sponsored buck. The company does charge companies for placing job openings in certain markets and is also asking for $10 now from folks wanting to list brokered housing in New York City.

Where art thou, lucrative contextual marketing? You can't be too far away.

Happy holidays, dot gone
The holiday season has come and gone, and the merriest of Christmas shopping patterns belongs to cyberspace. Reports indicate that Internet retailers clocked in with a 25% spike in sales for the season over last year's showing. Naturally, that finds e-tail once again nibbling away at the bricks-and-mortar market share, yet a lot of those online gains are coming from conventional retailers that continue to beef up their cyber-storefronts.

We don't have a lot to go on with individual e-tailers yet, though (NASDAQ:AMZN) did come through with selective data points. On its busiest shopping day of the season, Amazon sold roughly 11% more units than it did on its best day in 2005. That certainly doesn't leave one with a lot of hope for Amazon to keep up with that 25% overall pace in online retailing. However, on its busiest fulfillment day of the season, Amazon shipped out 26% more items than a year ago.

We will have to wait a few more weeks until we see how Amazon and its peers fared on the top and bottom lines. Wasn't it Alvin and the Chipmunks who once sang something along the lines of "Christmas data, don't be late?"

I didn't think so.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy .