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This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Wikia is a selective wiki hosting service (or wiki farm) founded in 2004 by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley under the name Wikicities. Wikia particularly targets communities, both those established offline and those with a purely online following. It is free of charge for readers and editors.

Despite the similarity of names and of user interface (because of the use of the same MediaWiki software), Wikia is independent from Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikia covers a broad range of topics; most widely-scoped community projects are accepted, with the exception of ideas that compete with the Wikimedia Foundation's projects, which the Wikia founders are heavily involved in. Wikia requires all content to be licensed under one of many free content licences, such as the Creative Commons Attribution and Attribution-Sharealike licences or the GNU Free Documentation License.

Wikia uses MediaWiki software on Linux servers, and claims to provide both technical and social support for all aspects of running a wiki community.[2] The project announced the creation of its one hundredth wiki on February 3, 2005.[3] As of August 2006, it had over 1,500 wikis in 48 languages.[4] As of December 2006, its Alexa traffic ranking was around 2500,[5] (Uncyclopedia and Memory Alpha, two of their most popular wikis, are not included in this figure).

Wikia changed its name from Wikicities on March 27, 2006, saying that "the name Wikicities has often caused confusion, with many people believing it was a site for city guides rather than wikis about any topic."[6] Following this change, Wikia announced that it had received US$4 million in venture capital from Bessemer Venture Partners.[7] has invested US$10 million dollars (per pewnews) in Series B funding. As a result, senior VP of business development Jeff Blackburn joined the company board.[8]

In November 2006, Wikia claimed to have spent only $5.74 on marketing, while generating 40 to 50 million page views.[8] Certain Wikia projects have independently spent money on advertising.[9]

The company spent $2 million on ArmchairGM, a previously independently hosted site on the Mediawiki software.[8]

Search engines

Wikia Inc. initially proposed creating a copyleft search engine; the software (but not the site) was named "Wikiasari" by a November 2004 naming contest.[10] The proposal became inactive as of 2005.

On December 23, 2006, Wales made passing comment regarding the possibility of a wiki-based internet search.[11] The result was extensive media coverage in multiple languages, in outlets like The Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and online editions of Forbes and Business Week publishing the statement as an announcement. This forced the company to re-brand and relaunch its previous "Wikiasari" proposal, under the temporary name of "Search Wikia".

In a later interview, Wales attempted to clarify several issues. He said that funding received from was not specific to the search project, and also restated that Wikia and Wikipedia have separate management. When asked whether the project was "formally announced", he said it was partly planned and partly a response to news coverage.[12]

Details of current ideas and brainstorming on Wikia search developments can be found at the Search Wikia site.

On March 8, 2007, at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Wales announced that Wikia plans to build a search engine rivalling those of Google and Yahoo based on the kind of collaborative cooperation which has been so successful in developing Wikipedia. By working together on search, users would be able to reduce the effects of spam. The new approach could account for five percent of the search market[13]

On March 10, 2007, Gil Penchina, chief executive officer of Wikia, stated in an interview that the goal for the project is to get 5 percent of the search market, and that a release date for services was not currently scheduled. "We're really trying to build a movement to make search free and open and transparent," Penchina said. "We have some servers up, and people are hacking away." The open source approach of utilising programmers and users around the world is different to that used by Google and Yahoo, which keep most of their software code secret, and could provide a search engine that lets users edit and fine-tune its results.[14]


Wikia, Inc. is a company based in San Mateo, California, USA.[15] The company was originally incorporated in Florida in December 2004 and re-incorporated in Delaware as Wikia, Inc. on 10 January 2006. Angela Beesley has served since the beginning as Wikia's Vice-President of Community Relations,[16] while Gil Penchina, a former vice president and general manager at eBay, was hired as CEO on June 5, 2006. Gil had previously been one of a group of angel investors in the company.[17][16] Michael E. Davis, a former business partner of Wales, who now serves as a member of the Wikimedia Foundation board and that organization's Treasurer, was named Treasurer and Secretary of Wikia in January 2006.

Wikia has some technical staff in the USA, but also opened an office in Poznań, Poland in 2006. Explaining his choice of location, Wales commented "It's about reasonable salaries and high quality. You can find cheaper programmers in other parts of the world, but the quality's not there."[4]

Active Wikia sites

Original Wikicities logo
Original Wikicities logo

As of 28 October 2006, the most active Wikia-hosted sites by active contributor count were:[18]

  • Uncyclopedia* (home), a satirical parody of Wikipedia, in over 30 languages
  • Wookieepedia (home), a Star Wars Wiki, along with a non-canon Star Wars fanon wiki (home) and SW1ki, a Star Wars MUSH database
  • Memory Alpha* (home), a reference to the Star Trek series, and its non-canon partner, Memory Beta
  • Wikiality (home), an "internets tube dedicated to truthiness" (and Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report in general)
  • WikiFur (home, 6,097+ articles), an encyclopedia of furry fandom
  • Dofus (home), a wiki dedicated to the MMORPG-like tactical game of the same name
  • 香港網絡大�...� (home), an encyclopedia of virtual communities in Hong Kong
  • Muppet Wiki (home, 13,000+ articles), a database on the works of Jim Henson, particularly The Muppets
  • Cyber Nations Wiki (home), a wiki for players of the nation simulation game Cyber Nations
  • Teletraan-1 (home), a fan-maintained database of Transformers knowledge
  • One Piece Encyclopedia (home), a database for Eiichiro Oda's manga series, One Piece
  • RuneScape Wiki (home), an encyclopedia for the MMORPG RuneScape

* Note: Uncyclopedia and Memory Alpha were founded separately, and are hosted by Wikia (in a variety of languages) under Creative Commons licenses.

  • Campaigns Wikia (home), a political wiki created by Jimmy Wales.[19]

See also

  • Comparison of wiki farms


  1. ^ Wikia, Inc.. Wikia, Inc.. Retrieved on 2006-11-08.
  2. ^ Wikia, Inc.. Why use Wikia?. Retrieved on 2006-10-28.
  3. ^ Beesley, Angela et al. (February 3, 2005). 100 Wikicities. Retrieved on October 15, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Shannon, Victoria (28 September, 2006). Wikipedia Founder Staffs For Profit Wikia Spinoff. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved on 2006-10-28.
  5. ^ Alexa. Related info for Retrieved on 2006-12-27.
  6. ^ Beesley, Angela (March 27, 2006). Wikicities relaunches as Wikia. Wikia. Retrieved on July 15, 2006.
  7. ^ Hinman, Michael (March 10, 2006). Venture capitalists invest wiki-millions. Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved on March 10, 2006.
  8. ^ a b c Ryan Blitstein (2006-12-06). Amazon puts faith -- and money -- in Wikia. Mercury News. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  9. ^ Parry, Laurence. WikiFur Ledger. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  10. ^ The name was derived from the Hawaiian word for "quick" and asari, Japanese for "rummaging search".
  11. ^ Doran, James (December 23, 2006). Founder of Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google. The Times. Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  12. ^ Q&A With Jimmy Wales On Search Wikia. Search Engine Land (2006-12-29). Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  13. ^ Wikipedia founder says to challenge Google, Yahoo], Reuters, 8 March 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2007.
  14. ^ Jonathan Thaw, Wikia plans editable Web search engine, Bloomberg News, March 10, 2007
  15. ^ San Mateo-Based Wikia Lands Investment from Silicon Valley Wire (2006-12-06). Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  16. ^ a b Wikia, Inc.. Bessemer Venture Partners Funds Jimmy Wales' Startup Wikia. Retrieved on 2006-03-31.
  17. ^ Wikia taps eBay exec as CEO. San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved on June 5, 2006.
  18. ^ Wikia Statistics: Active wikians. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  19. ^ McCarthy , Caroline (2006). Wikipedia founder launches political site. CNET. Retrieved on 2006-12-05.

External links

  • Wikia, collaborative projects main page
  • Wikia, Inc., corporate information
  • List of Wikis on Wikia
  • Co-founder Angela Beesley on Wikia brief video interview (18 MB)
  • Video of and notes from Jimmys Talk on Free Culture, Transparency, and Search (over half the talk is on Wikia) at New York University (January 31, 2007)
News reports
  • From Wikipedia's Creator, A New Site for Anyone, Anything -- Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2005
  • Global Villages Convene in wiki town halls -- St. Petersburg Times, April 4, 2005
  • For-profit wiki - Marketplace (radio program) August 30, 2006
  • "Something Wiki Is Coming to the Web Search Market", The New York, January 1, 2007 -- about Wikisaria, an upcoming search engine
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