WikiLeaks now selling merchandise

February 23, 2011

What better way to make a little extra cash than to open an online store selling branded merchandise? When you’re WikiLeaks it’s a strange step to take, and although it may be entirely necessary to keep the site running and Julian Assange in lawyers, it’s still sure to raise questions over whether the site is selling out.

Tomorrow (Feb. 24) is D-Day for Julian Assange, as he is set to find out whether he’ll be extradited from the U.K. to Sweden to face rape charges. Whatever the outcome, Assange is facing a hefty legal bill which he’ll need to pay. WikiLeaks itself also needs a constant stream of money to keep it online, as it relies solely on donations to keep doing what it’s doing.

In an effort to raise some extra cash, WikiLeaks has launched a new online gift shop via German company Spreadshirt AG. This is, rather interestingly, the same firm that has sold merchandise for pop groups such as the Spice Girls and Boyzone.

On offer are the full range of merchandise you’d expect, although not from a whistle-blowing website: T-shirts in a range of colors, messenger bags, scarves, umbrellas, hats, hoodies, and a lot more besides. Some of the products have an image of Assange on, some have the WikiLeaks logo, some have quotes from the likes of George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson.

Spreadshirt told the Wall Street Journal:

WikiLeaks is an emotional proposition: People love it or hate it. For those that love it and wish to show support for WikiLeaks by wearing a T-shirt, it is a good proposition.

WikiLeaks has stated that all proceeds from the sale of merchandise will be plowed back into running the site. Assange meanwhile has a small fortune of a reported $1.3 million heading his way thanks to the advance on his autobiography. That should keep his legal team happy, while the online gift shop should enable WikiLeaks to keep going for a little longer. At least until governments around the world get their way and shut both the man and the site up for good.

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