Wikia

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Wikia, Inc.
Fandom logo
Wikia logo
Type of business Private
Type of site
Wiki hosting service
Available in Multilingual
Founded October 18, 2004; 12 years ago (2004-10-18) (as Wikicities)
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Founder(s) Jimmy Wales
Angela Beesley Starling
President Jimmy Wales
CEO Craig Palmer
Products
  • Wiki hosting
    • Wiki Topic Discussion Forums
  • Data Research[1]
  • Private Focus Group and Early Marketing[2]
  • API [3]
  • Digital Pop Culture News Magazine[4]
Employees 300+ (2016)
Slogan(s) The Home of Fandom
Website www.wikia.com
Alexa rank Increase 76 (March 2017)[5]
Advertising Direct and advertising networks
Registration Optional
Launched October 18, 2004; 12 years ago (2004-10-18) (as Wikicities)
Current status Active
Written in PHP

Wikia (formerly Wikicities, website itself known as FANDOM powered by Wikia[6]) is a wiki hosting service. The site is free of charge, for-profit,[7] deriving its income from advertising and sold content, publishing most 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[8] by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley Starling—respectively Chairman Emeritus and Advisory Board member of the Wikimedia Foundation—and headed by Craig Palmer as CEO.[9] Wikia also runs the associated Fandom editorial project, offering pop-culture and gaming news.[10]

History[edit]

Wikia was launched on October 18, 2004, under the name "Wikicities" (which invited comparisons to GeoCities),[11] but changed its name to "Wikia" on March 27, 2006.[12] In the month before the move, Wikia announced a US$4 million venture capital investment from Bessemer Venture Partners and First Round Capital.[13] Nine months later, Amazon.com invested US$10 million[citation needed] in Series B funding.[14]

By July 2007, it had more than 3,000 wikis in more than 50 languages.[15] Over time Wikia has incorporated formerly independent wikis that joined Wikia, such as LyricWiki, The Vault, Uncyclopedia and WoWWiki.[16] Gil Penchina described Wikia early on as "the rest of the library and magazine rack" to Wikipedia's encyclopedia.[17] 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.[18]

By 2010, Wikias were able to be created in 188 different languages.[7] In October 2011, Wikia announced that Craig Palmer, the former CEO of Gracenote, would replace Penchina as CEO.[9] On February 8, 2012, co-founder Beesley Starling announced she was leaving Wikia to launch a startup called ChalkDrop.com.[19] 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 Amazon.com.[20] 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.[21][22] On March 4, 2015, Wikia announced its appointment of Walker Jacobs, who was the former Executive Vice-President of Turner Broadcasting System, to the new position of Chief Operating Officer.[23] In December 2015, Wikia launched the Fan Contributor Program. On January 25, 2016, Wikia launched a new entertainment news site named Fandom.[24] On September 26, 2016, Wikia announced that Wikia.com would be renamed Fandom powered by Wikia on October 4, 2016, to better associate themselves with the Fandom website. Wikia, Inc. would remain under its current name. Wikia.com is now redirected to fandom.wikia.com.[25]

Services and features[edit]

Wikis[edit]

Wikia communities consist of online encyclopedias, each one specialized in a particular subject or theme. Although Wikia allows almost anything to be the main focus of a wiki, the most common interest of Wikia internauts is in popular fiction franchises of books, films, games, and other media, due to the considerable limitation of such detailed information by Wikipedia's notability policies.

The main purpose of articles in a Wikia community is to cover information and discussion on a particular topic in a much greater and more comprehensive detail level than can be found on Wikipedia articles.[26] For example, Spiteful Crow, an enemy character in EarthBound, may have its own article on the EarthBound wikia,[27] whereas the character may not be considered notable enough for a Wikipedia page. Also, the writing style is mostly directed to those familiar with specific vocabulary and terminology rather than to the lay and general public of Wikipedia.

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).[28][29]

Wikia requires all user text content to be published under a free license;[30] 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][31] 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.[32]

Wikis are not owned by their founders, nor does the founder's opinion carry more weight in disagreements than any other user's opinion. Consensus and cooperation should be the primary means for organizing a community.[32] However, Wikia may take decisions affecting the community even if there's no consensus at all.[33]

Technology[edit]

The Wikia file store as of June 2011 includes over 8 million files stored on SSD.[34]

As of August 2015, Wikia uses a heavily modified version[35] of MediaWiki software, based on the version 1.19[36] of MediaWiki, which was officially marked as obsolete in May 2015.[37] It has more than 250 extensions installed,[36] most of them created by their staff of developers, to add social features like blogs, chat, badges, forums and multimedia,[38] but also remove features like advanced user options[39][40] or skins other than their default custom skin and Monobook (available only for personal use),.[41]

In August 2016 Wikia announced it would switch to a Service Oriented Architecture.[42] It has also removed many custom extensions and functionality for specific wiki, has created certain features to fill those needs.[43]

Entertainment news magazine[edit]

In 2016 Wikia launched Fandom, an online entertainment news magazine. The program utilizes volunteer contributors called "Fan Contributors"[44] to produce news-style articles, working alongside an editorial team employed by Wikia. In contrast to the blogging feature of individual wiki communities, Fandom focuses on pop culture and fan topics such as video games, movies and television shows. The project features fan opinion, interviews with property creators, reviews and how-to guides. Fandom also includes videos and specific news coverage sponsored or paid for by a property creator to promote their property,

In September 2016, it was announced that the entire Wikia platform would be rebranded under the Fandom name on October 4, 2016.[6]

Private marketing[edit]

Wikia currently runs the Wikia Fan Studio, a private platform that allows property creators to give early exposure to their product to a select group of Wikia users. All participants remain anonymous and are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep early access information confidential. Fan Studio features properties such as testing for games, early releases of television episodes, a chapter of a book, etc. The purpose is to create an environment to market a property to a demographic who immensely enjoys pop culture topics, collect feedback, and gauge interest of the topic on the internet.

Wiki partnerships[edit]

Wikia has created several official partnerships to create wikis, vetted by the corporation as being the "official" encyclopedia or wiki of a property. In 2014, Wikia partnered with Roddenberry Enterprises to create the Trek Initiative, a Wikia hosted wiki community site that features video interviews, promotions and other material about Star Trek to celebrate its 50th anniversary.[45] In 2013, Wikia partnered with SOE (now called Daybreak Games) to create official wikis for several of their games such as Free Realms, Planetside 2[46] and the Everquest franchise. Wikia made similar partnerships with 2K Games during the launch of Civilization: Beyond Earth[47] and Warner Bros Interactive for Shadow of Mordor.[48] Wikia also has partnerships with Lionsgate Media to promote Starz and Film franchises through wiki content, fandom articles and advertisements.

Controversy[edit]

Wikia communities have complained of inappropriate advertisements, or advertising in the body text area.[49] 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.[50]

Domain and skin assimilation[edit]

Wikia has sometimes expanded by acquiring an existing wiki's domain name, user lists, and databases, from a founder or co-founder in return for money and stock options.[51] The original wiki is then shut down without consulting its editors or wider community, and the domain redirected to Wikia's version of the project. In the case of the acquisitions of uncyclopedia.org from Jonathan Huang in July 2006,[52] gamewikis.org from Phil Nelson in October 2007, and memory-alpha.org from Harry Doddema and Dan Carlson in January 2008,[53] the content was under a non-commercial license.

In June 2008, Wikia adopted a new skin, Monaco, intending to implement it as the default on almost all hosted wikis.[54] Many wiki users felt the choice of skin default should remain their own. The switch went ahead, but some wikis retained Monobook as their default. In September 2008, the Transformers Wiki moved content to their own server, citing the format-altering ads and mandatory changes as reasons for their departure.[55][56] WikiFur moved likewise in August 2009;[57] the Nethack wiki moved in November 2010,[58] and the Doom wiki in September 2011.[59]

In May 2009, Wikia removed the ability of individual users to choose a skin other than Monaco or Monobook, claiming a testing burden and relative lack of features. Soon after, Wikia removed the option to set the default skin to Monobook, with the exception of certain large wikis, namely, Uncyclopedia.[60]

Relationship with Wikipedia[edit]

Wikia has been accused of unduly profiting from a perceived association with Wikipedia.[61][62] Although Wikia has been referred to in the media as "the commercial counterpart to the non-profit Wikipedia",[63][64] Wikimedia[65] and Wikia staff[66] 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.[67] In January 2009, Wikia subleased two conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the Wikipedia Usability Initiative.[68] According to a 2009 email by Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation:

We obtained about a dozen bids...We used averaging as a way to arrive at a fair market rate to neither advantage nor disadvantage Wikia when suggesting a rate. The averaging also resulted in a rate that was roughly equivalent to the most comparable space in the running.[69]

Relationship with wiki communities[edit]

Wikia often implements new features or branding choices, which individual wiki communities disagree with. While there is usually mutual respect amongst communities and Wikia, sometimes forced implementation of features or branding has resulted in conflict.

Wikia, Inc.[edit]

Wikia and Wired Building location

Wikia, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California.[70] The company was incorporated in Florida in December 2004 and re-incorporated in Delaware as Wikia, Inc. on January 10, 2006.[citation needed]

Wikia has technical staff in the US, but also has an office in Poznań, Poland, where the primary engineering functions are performed.[15]

Wikia derives income from advertising. The company initially used Google AdSense,[71] but moved on to Federated Media before bringing ad management in-house.[72] Alongside Wikia's in-house advertising, they continue to use Adsense as well as Amazon Ads and several other third party advertising services. Wikia additionally gains income from various partnerships oriented around various sweepstake sponsorships on related wikis.

Wikia has several other offices.[73] International operations are based in Germany, and Asian operations and sales are conducted in Tokyo. Other sales offices are located in Chicago, Latin America, Los Angeles (marketing programming and content), New York, and London.

See also[edit]

Notes[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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Media kit". Wikia. 
  2. ^ "Wikia Fan Studio FAQ". 
  3. ^ "Wikia API Wiki". api.wikia.com. 
  4. ^ "Fandom powered by Wikia". 
  5. ^ "Wikia.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  6. ^ a b Palmer, Craig L. (2016-09-26). "Wikia is now Fandom powered by Wikia". Fandom powered by Wikia. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  7. ^ a b John K Waters & 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. 
  8. ^ Pink, Daniel H. (2005-03-13). "The Book Stops Here". Wired (13.03). Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  9. ^ a b Marlowe, C. (2011-10-13). "Wikia names ex-Gracenote Craig Palmer as CEO". DMWMedia.com. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  10. ^ "Fandom - Wikia". Fandom powered by Wikia. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  11. ^ Gussow, Dave (4 April 2005). "Global villages convene in wiki town halls". St. Petersburg Times. 
  12. ^ Pete Cashmore (28 March 2006). Mashable, ed. "Wikia - Build Your Own Wiki". Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Hinman, Michael (10 March 2006). "Venture capitalists invest wiki-millions". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved 10 March 2006. 
  14. ^ "Jimmy Wales's Wikia Venture Gets Funding From Amazon". The Wall Street Journal. 6 December 2006. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Shannon, Victoria (28 September 2006). "Wikipedia Founder Staffs For Profit Wikia Spinoff". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2006. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Matthew Barton & Robert Cummings (2009). Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom. University of Michigan Press. p. 14. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Lon Safko (2010). The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success. John Wiley & Sons. p. 491. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Leaving Wikia". 
  20. ^ Friday, November 30th, 2012 (30 November 2012). "With 1B Pageviews Under Its Belt, UGC Giant Wikia Raises $10.8M From IVP, Bessemer & Amazon". TechCrunch. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Dan Primack (28 August 2014). "Term Sheet -- Thursday, August 28". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Ingrid Lunden (27 August 2014). "User-Generated Content Portal Wikia Raises Another $15M To Crack Into Asia". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  23. ^ PRNewswire (4 March 2015). "Wikia Appoints Walker Jacobs Chief Operating Officer". PR Newswire. PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  24. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn (25 January 2016). "Wikia Launches Fandom, a New Place to Get Your Nerd On". Recode. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  25. ^ Palmer, Craig (26 September 2016). "Wikia is now Fandom powered by Wikia". Wikia. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  26. ^ McNichol, Tom (March 2007). "With Wikia, a Wikipedia founder looks to strike it rich". Business 2.0 Magazine. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  27. ^ "Spiteful Crow". earthbound.wikia.com. Retrieved 19 November 2016. 
  28. ^ Caroline Coubieres; Sabine Roux (2015). Wikia: Between Document Simulacra and Documented Fictions. Proceedings from 12th Annual Meeting of the Document Academy. 2. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  29. ^ Camille Roth (21 October 2007). Viable Wikis: Struggle for Life in the Wikisphere (PDF). WikiSym '07. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  30. ^ "Wikia:Licensing". Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  31. ^ Beesley Starling, Angela. "Licensing update June 19, 2009". Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  32. ^ a b "Community Creation Policy". Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  33. ^ "Fandom network operations - a new concept to understand relations between wikia staff and communities". Community Central. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  34. ^ Bergman, Artur (16 June 2011). "Artur Bergman (Wikia) on SSDs". O'Reilly Media. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  35. ^ Garczewski, Lucas (12 June 2012). "MediaWiki Upgrade". Community Central Wikia. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "Version information". Community Central Wikia. 
  37. ^ "End of life announcement - 1.19.x LTS". mediawiki-announce mailing list archive. 
  38. ^ "Tour of Wikia Features". Community Central Wikia. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  39. ^ "What happened to thumbnail image size in my preferences?". Community Central Wikia. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  40. ^ "UserPreferencesV2 extension code". GitHub code repository. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  41. ^ "Wikia's new look - FAQ". Community Central Wikia. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  42. ^ "Introducing Service-Oriented Architecture, A New Approach to Software Development". Community Central. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  43. ^ "Introducing New Moderator Opportunities For Community Administration". Community Central. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  44. ^ "Fan Contributor". 
  45. ^ "Mashable". 
  46. ^ "MMORPG". 
  47. ^ "PR Newswire". 
  48. ^ "Wikia Shadow of Mordor". 
  49. ^ Finkelstein, Seth (2008-09-25). "Read me first: Wikipedia isn't about human potential, whatever Wales says". The Guardian. London. 
  50. ^ Finkelstein, Seth (2008-07-31). "How will Wikia cope when the workers all quit the plantation?". The Guardian. London. 
  51. ^ "GuildWiki: Wikia Move". GuildWiki. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  52. ^ "Announcement: Wikia & Uncyclopedia". Uncyclopedia. 2006-07-10. 
  53. ^ "Wikia now owns memory-alpha.org". Memory Alpha. 2015-02-08. 
  54. ^ Wikia, Inc. (2008-06-17). "Wikia's New Style". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  55. ^ "How will Wikia cope when the workers all quit the plantation?" @ guardian.co.uk
  56. ^ "Press Release: Teletraan-1 Wikia moves to TFWiki.net - Transformers Wiki". 
  57. ^ Laurence Parry (2009-08-17). "English WikiFur moved to en.wikifur.com". WikiFur News. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  58. ^ "Template:News". Nethack Wiki. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  59. ^ "Doom Wiki:Departure from Wikia". 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  60. ^ "Forum:Changes to skin preferences". 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  61. ^ "Wikipedia: Special Treatment for Wikia and some other Wikis". TechCrunch. April 28, 2007.
  62. ^ "Living in the Digital Age - Shift - DW (Arabia) - 25.09.12 - DW.DE". DW.DE. 
  63. ^ "Wikipedia founder says to challenge Google, Yahoo". Reuters. 2007-03-09. 
  64. ^ "Community websites take wiki path". BBC News. BBC. 2006-12-12. 
  65. ^ "Wikia, Inc. is not the commercial counterpart to Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  66. ^ "Wikimedia". Wikia, Inc. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  67. ^ 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."
  68. ^ "A note on the Wikipedia Usability Initiative". Blog.wikimedia.org. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  69. ^ "Foundation-l: Wikia leasing office space to WMF". Lists.wikimedia.org. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  70. ^ "San Mateo-Based Wikia Lands Investment from Amazon.com". Silicon Valley Wire. 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-03-08. ; California Business Portal, Agent for service of process address; Go Daddy, Registered domain address.
  71. ^ Lashinksy, Adam; Scott, Jagon (2006-08-30). "For-profit wiki". Marketplace. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  72. ^ "Advertising on Wikia". 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  73. ^ "About". Wikia. Wikia Incorporated. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]