One of the biggest success stories of the internet age is Wikipedia. Although not always the most reliable source of information, if you ever need a general overview of a topic, Wikipedia was the source of excellent general knowledge. Trying to expand the Wiki universe, Wikia Search was launched. In a blog post today, Jimmy Wales announced that the search service will no longer be funded.
Citing difficult economic situations, the search engine no longer has the funding needed to succeed. Although always viewed as a long term project, due to the current situation, they cannot continue to fund with such average user numbers. Over the last six months, they have only had 10,000 unique visitors per month, which was not enough to make the service viable.
We had a look at the Wikia Search back in the day when it was in alpha, and made the following comment:
…this search engine has massive potential if they can effectively overcome the typical problems like spam – which they have managed to do with Wikipedia by creating a community of evangelists.
Perhaps because it was a for profit venture, the community did not build around this project like previous Wiki adventures. This, combined with the poor uptake was a cause of the demise.
An interesting aside would be some of the new projects Google has been launching over the last few years. It seems that everything Google touches turns to gold, however I’m sure some pundits said the same about Wiki. If one giant can take a stumble, then perhaps the golden child may one day take a wrong step?