Wikia Search isn't anything but a failed dream anymore, but when it was something long ago in 2008, it was Jimbo Wales' mindchild and his only hope of breaking Google's grip over the search engine industry. Marketed as an open and transparent search engine, Wikia was hoping to combine search engines and wiki physics in order to build something better and more reliable.
—How little do you know, Jimbo?
Wikia Search was built on four basic principles:
- Transparency – Because free software is better than proprietary software, right?
- Community – Because the common people know better than paid experts.
- Quality – You can edit the search results.
- Privacy – Let's add social networking features so you can share your photos and dox.
In a nutshell, Wikia Search was centered around crowdsourcing, which is the idea that the profit motive doesn't accomplish anything of quality. A notable example of crowdsourcing is Encyclopedia Dramatica, where anyone can write a shitty person article on their ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend and show off that article to their Twitter friends.
An alpha version of the search engine was released to the public on January 7, 2008, but everyone was in agreement about the magnitudes of fail generated by this half-baked product. The alpha version was released on June 3, 2008, with moot improvement. The search engine never entered left the alpha phrase, and on March 31, 2009, Jimbo Wales admitted defeat and announced Wikia Search's closure in the near-future. On May 14, 2009, Wikia Search was finally closed and its domain was redirected to Wikianswers (not to be confused with WikiAnswers).
Har-dee-har-har! So, that means my site, MyWikiBiz.com -- which Jimmy Wales called "antithetical" to Wikipedia's mission, and which he vowed he'd bad-mouth wherever he saw fit -- and which garnered 25% more unique visitors per month this quarter than did Wikia Search -- has now outlasted not one (OpenServing.com), but TWO failed Jimmy Wales projects since it went live in mid-2006.
Note, my site costs me about $20 a month to run. What seems to be the difficulty with Jimbo's wikis?
Strange. I said from Day One that Wikia Search would not work, because its leader isn't reliable and transparent.
In fact, my letter to the editor of Fast Company appeared in the second issue after the "Google Killer" claptrap cover story.
I got called a "troll", for being right. Once again.
Maybe people will start listening to me now?
There is more criticism of Wikia Search elsewhere, but ED can't discuss them all here; try to Goolge them instead.