Through the process of developing a Wikipedia article I ventured in to the world of PURLs. What most surprised me about the process of establishing PURLs was not that it was a relatively simple process, which it was, but that OCLC would go through such lengths for the sole purpose of making information more accessible.
Perhaps my experience with highly paid government consultants has jaded me. I
I get suspicious when I find something for nothing, because seldom do you get something for nothing. Certainly not on the corporate level at any rate. Jimmy Wales might provide Wikipedia for free, but I would imagine that the success of Wikipedia commands him an impressive speaker's rate. So, in the end, he profits from a non-profit organization.
Perhaps the same is true of OCLC. As OCLC creates a bigger footprint on the information landscape and is insinuates itself in to more and more aspects of information organization and retrieval its management gains more authority, which in the end will translate to personal profit.
Maybe it's just the Machiavellian in me, but I trust an institution more when I know what motivates it.