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Wikia, Inc.
Wikia logo
Type Private
Founded 2004
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Founder(s) Jimmy Wales
Angela Starling
President Jimmy Wales
CEO Craig Palmer
Key people Angela Starling (co-founder)
Products Wiki hosting
Employees 200 (March 2014)[1]
Alexa rank negative increase 108 (March 2015)[2]
Type of site Wiki hosting service
Advertising Direct and advertising networks
Registration Optional
Available in Multilingual
Launched October 18, 2004
Current status Active

Wikia (formerly Wikicities) is a free web hosting service and a Wiki hosting service for wikis. The site is free of charge,[3][4] deriving its income from advertising, and publishes all user-provided text under copyleft licenses. Wikia hosts several hundred thousand wikis using the open-source wiki software, MediaWiki. Its operator, Wikia, Inc., is a for-profit Delaware company founded in late 2004[5] by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley—respectively Chairman Emeritus and Advisory Board member of the Wikimedia Foundation—and headed by Craig Palmer as CEO.[6]


Wikia was launched on October 18, 2004, under the name "Wikicities" (which invited comparisons to GeoCities),[7] but changed its name to "Wikia" on March 27, 2006.[citation needed] In the month before the move, Wikia announced a US$4 million venture capital investment from Bessemer Venture Partners and First Round Capital.[8] Nine months later, invested US$10 million in Series B funding.[citation needed]

By July 2007, it had more than 3,000 wikis in more than 50 languages.[9] Over time Wikia has incorporated formerly independent wikis that joined Wikia, such as LyricWiki, The Vault, Uncyclopedia and WoWWiki.[10] Gil Penchina described Wikia early on as "the rest of the library and magazine rack" to Wikipedia's encyclopaedia.[11] The material has also been described as informal, and often bordering on entertainment, allowing the importing of maps, YouTube videos, and other non-traditional wiki material.[12]

The wikias were in 188 different languages.[4] At the end of November 2012, it was announced that Wikia had raised another US$10.8 million in Series C funding from Institutional Venture Partners and previous investors Bessemer Ventures Partners and[13] Another $15 million was raised in August 2014 for Series D funding, with investors Digital Garage, Amazon, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Institutional Venture Partners. The total raised at this point was $39.8 million.[14][15]

Services and features[edit]

Wikia Logo

Wikia's Terms of Use forbid hate speech, libel, pornography, or copyright infringement. Material is allowed, as long as the added material does not duplicate Wikimedia Foundation projects.[16] Many of the site's hosted wikis follow the style of Wikipedia, but offer detail beyond what is considered appropriate by Wikipedia's policies. For example, a minor character in a Star Wars film may have its own article on Wookieepedia, whereas the character may not be considered notable enough for a Wikipedia page.[17] Other examples of content that is generally considered beyond the scope of information of Wikipedia articles includes Wikia information about video games and related video game topics, detailed instructions, gameplay details, plot details, and so forth. Gameplay concepts can also have their own articles. Wikia also allows wikis to have a point of view, rather than the neutral POV that is required by Wikipedia (although NPOV is a local policy on many Wikia communities).[citation needed]

Wikia requires all user text content to be published under a free license;[18] most use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, although Memory Alpha and Uncyclopedia use a noncommercial variant and some use the GNU Free Documentation License.[nb 1][19]

The Wikia file store as of June 2011 includes over 8 million files stored on SSD.[20]

Questions and answers site[edit]

In January 2009, the company created a question and answer website named "Wikianswers".[21] In March 2010, Wikia re-launched "Answers from Wikia", where users could create topic-specialized knowledge market wikis based upon Wikia's own Wikianswers subdomain.[22]


OpenServing was a short-lived Web publishing project owned by Wikia, founded on December 12, 2006,[23][24] and abandoned, unannounced, in January 2008.[25] Like Wikia, OpenServing was to offer free wiki hosting, but it would differ in that each wiki's founder would retain any revenue gained from advertising on the site.[23][26][27] OpenServing used a modified version of the Wikimedia Foundation's MediaWiki software created by ArmchairGM, but was intended to branch out to other open source packages.[23][28]

According to Wikia co-founder and chairman Jimmy Wales, the OpenServing site received several thousand applications in January 2007.[29] However, after a year, no sites had been launched under the OpenServing banner.[25]


ArmchairGM was a sports forum and wiki site created by Aaron Wright, Dan Lewis, Robert Lefkowitz and developer David Pean. Launched in early 2006, the site was initially US-based, but sought to improve its links to sports associated with Britain over its first year. Its MediaWiki-based software included a Digg-style article-voting mechanism, blog-like comment forms with "thumbs up/down" user feedback, and the ability to write multiple types of posts (news, opinions, or "locker room" discussion entries).

In late 2006, the site was bought by Wikia for $2 million.[30] After the purchase was made, the former owners applied ArmchairGM's architecture to other Wikia sites. An ArmchairGM contributor operating under the pseudonym Manny Stiles auctioned his blogging services on eBay in early 2007. Tampa Bay Devil Rays President Matt Silverman bought the 33-year-old blogger's work for $535, before adding another $1000. The money went to AIDS awareness.[31]

On March 20, 2008, Sports Illustrated added a section to their website called the SI Vault Wiki, pointing to the ArmchairGM encyclopedia.[32] From September 2010 to February 2011, Wikia absorbed the site's encyclopedia articles and blanked all of its old blog entries, effectively discontinuing ArmchairGM in its original form.[citation needed]

Search engines[edit]

Wikia, Inc. initially proposed creating a copyleft search engine; the software (but not the site) was named "Wikiasari" by a November 2004 naming contest.[nb 2] The proposal became inactive in 2005.[citation needed] The "public alpha" of Wikia Search web search engine was launched on January 7, 2008,[citation needed] from the USSHC underground data center.[33] This roll-out version of the search interface was roundly panned by reviewers in technology media.[34] The project was ended in March 2009.[35] Late in 2009, a new search engine was established to index and display results from all sites hosted on Wikia.[citation needed]


Wikia communities have complained of inappropriate advertisements, or advertising in the body text area.[36] There is no easy way for individual communities to switch to conventional paid hosting, as Wikia usually owns the relevant domain names. If a community leaves Wikia for new hosting, the company typically continues to operate the abandoned wiki using its original name and content, adversely affecting the new wiki's search rankings, for advertising revenue.[37]

The constant skin changes and social features have also been causes of controversy among users.[38][39]

Wikia, Inc.[edit]

Wikia and Wired Building location
Wikia and Wired flags

Wikia, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California.[40] The company was incorporated in Florida in December 2004 and re-incorporated in Delaware as Wikia, Inc. on January 10, 2006.[citation needed]

In October 2011, Wikia announced that Craig Palmer, the former CEO of Gracenote, would replace Penchina as CEO.[6]

Wikia has technical staff in the US, but also has an office in Poznań, Poland, in 2006.[9]

Wikia derives income from advertising. The company initially used Google AdSense,[41] but moved on to Federated Media before bringing ad management in-house.[42] Alongside Wikia's in-house advertising they continue to use Adsense as well as Amazon Ads and several other third party advertising services.

Wikia has several other offices,[43] three marketing and sales offices, primary marketing operations originate from New York, and very small offices in Los Angeles and Chicago.

International operations are based in Germany, Japanese and Chinese operations are conducted in Tokyo, and there is a "miscellaneous office"[clarification needed] in London.

Wikia has over 200 employees with several contractors and volunteer users.[clarification needed] The employee base includes many remote employees.

Relationship with Wikimedia[edit]

Wikia has been accused of unduly profiting from a perceived association with Wikipedia.[44][45] Although Wikia has been referred to in the media as "the commercial counterpart to the non-profit Wikipedia",[46][47] Wikimedia[48] and Wikia staff[49] call this description inaccurate.

In 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation shared hosting and bandwidth costs with Wikia, and received some donated office space from Wikia during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. At the end of fiscal year 2007, Wikia owed the Foundation US$6,000. In June 2007, two members of the Foundation's Board of Directors also served as employees, officers, or directors of Wikia.[50] In January 2009, Wikia subleased two conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the Wikipedia Usability Initiative.[51] According to a 2009 email by Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, bid averaging was used "as a way to arrive at a fair market rate".[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Most content on Wikia was licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License until June 19, 2009, at which point most wikis were relicensed to CC-BY-SA.
  2. ^ The name was derived from the Hawaiian word for "quick" and asari, Japanese for "rummaging search".[citation needed]


  1. ^ Wikia, Inc. "Wikia, Inc.". Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  3. ^ Henry K. Lee (August 29, 2014). "Boyfriend charged with murder in Bernal Heights death". SFGate. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b John K Waters and John Lester (2010). The Everything Guide to Social Media: All you need to know about participating in today's most popular online communities. Adams Media. p. 171. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ Pink, Daniel H. (2005-03-13). "The Book Stops Here". Wired (13.03). Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  6. ^ a b Marlowe, C. (2011-10-13). "Wikia names ex-Gracenote Craig Palmer as CEO". Digital Media Wire. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  7. ^ Gussow, Dave (2005-04-04). "Global villages convene in wiki town halls". St. Petersburg Times. 
  8. ^ Hinman, Michael (2006-03-10). "Venture capitalists invest wiki-millions". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved 2006-03-10. 
  9. ^ a b Shannon, Victoria (2006-09-28). "Wikipedia Founder Staffs For Profit Wikia Spinoff". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2006-10-28. 
  10. ^ Warschauer, Mark; Grimes, Douglas (2007). "Audience, Authorship, and Artifact: The emergent semiotics of Web 2.0". Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 27: 1–23. doi:10.1017/S0267190508070013. 
  11. ^ Matthew Barton and Robert Cummings (2009). Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom. University of Michigan Press. p. 14. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success. John Wiley & Sons. 2010. p. 491. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  13. ^ Friday, November 30th, 2012 (2012-11-30). "With 1B Pageviews Under Its Belt, UGC Giant Wikia Raises $10.8M From IVP, Bessemer & Amazon". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  14. ^ Dan Primack (August 28, 2014). "Term Sheet -- Thursday, August 28". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  15. ^ Ingrid Lunden (August 27, 2014). "User-Generated Content Portal Wikia Raises Another $15M To Crack Into Asia". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Wikia:Creation policy". Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  17. ^ McNichol, Tom (March 2007). "With Wikia, a Wikipedia founder looks to strike it rich". Business 2.0 Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  18. ^ "Wikia:Licensing". Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  19. ^ Beesley, Angela. "Licensing update June 19, 2009". Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  20. ^ Bergman, Artur (2011-06-16). "Artur Bergman (Wikia) on SSDs". O'Reilly Media. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  21. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (2009-01-31). "Jimmy Wales Quietly Launches Wikianswers". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  22. ^ "''Free wiki hosting company Wikia to let you create your own question and answer sites''". Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  23. ^ a b c "Wikipedia founder remakes Web-publishing economics". Reuters/USA Today. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  24. ^ "Wikia Announces Free Wiki Hosting". TechCrunch. 2006-12-11. 
  25. ^ a b "Wikia's OpenServing Project Dies a Quiet Death". Mars Magazine. 2007-10-10. 
  26. ^ "Wikipedia to share collaborative software". Daily Times. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "Wikia Unveils OpenServing - the Mother of All Freebies". Business Wire. 2006-12-11. 
  28. ^ "Wikipedia founder to share collaborative software". AFP. December 2006. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Wikis can succeed on newspaper sites, claims Wikipedia founder". Online Journalism News, 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  30. ^ Blitstein, Ryan (2006-12-06). "Amazon puts faith – and money – in Wikia". Archived from the original on 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  31. ^ "Rays' newest investment is online". St. Petersburg Times. 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  32. ^ Staci D. Kramer (2008-03-25). "SI Opens The Vault—And Treasure Seekers Follow". paidContent. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  33. ^ Rich Miller. "Wikia Search Launches From Iowa Data Bunker". Data Center Knowledge. 
  34. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (2008-01-07). "Wikipedia founder's search engine gets bad reviews". Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  35. ^ Needleman, Rafe (March 31, 2009). "Wales giving up on Wikia Search". Webware. CNet. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  36. ^ Finkelstein, Seth (2008-09-25). "Read me first: Wikipedia isn't about human potential, whatever Wales says". The Guardian (London). 
  37. ^ Finkelstein, Seth (2008-07-31). "How will Wikia cope when the workers all quit the plantation?". The Guardian (London). 
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ "San Mateo-Based Wikia Lands Investment from". Silicon Valley Wire. 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-03-08. ; California Business Portal, Agent for service of process address; Go Daddy, Registered domain address.
  41. ^ Lashinksy, Adam; Scott, Jagon (2006-08-30). "For-profit wiki". Marketplace. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  42. ^ "Advertising on Wikia". 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  43. ^ "About". Wikia. Wikia Incorporated. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Wikipedia: Special Treatment for Wikia and some other Wikis". TechCrunch. April 28, 2007.
  45. ^ The Dark Side of Wikipedia (video segment), Deutsche Welle
  46. ^ "Wikipedia founder says to challenge Google, Yahoo". Reuters. 2007-03-09. 
  47. ^ "Community websites take wiki path". BBC News (BBC). 2006-12-12. 
  48. ^ "Wikia, Inc. is not the commercial counterpart to Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  49. ^ "Wikimedia". Wikia, Inc. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  50. ^ Wikimedia Foundation 2006-2007 Audit page 9 says "The Organization shared hosting and bandwidth costs with Wikia, Inc., a for-profit company founded by the same founder as Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Included in accounts receivable at June 30, 2007, is $6,000 due from Wikia, Inc. for these costs. The Organization received some donated office space from Wikia Inc. during the year ended June 30, 2006, valued at $6,000. No donation of the office space occurred in 2007. Through June 30, 2007, two members of the Organization’s board of directors also serve as employees, officers, or directors of Wikia, Inc."
  51. ^ "A note on the Wikipedia Usability Initiative". 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  52. ^ "Foundation-l: Wikia leasing office space to WMF". 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 

External links[edit]