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Wales Wikia Wound-up – Wouldn’t Work Well

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
2 April 2009

In a piece of news that probably caused some confusion due to it's release date (April 1st – though evidently it wasn't a joke), Wikipedia founder James Wales announced his decision to close his 'Wikia Search' search engine yesterday, citing a lack of success for the project's demise.

In a post on his blog, Wales explained:

"I personally believe in the opportunity for free software to make serious inroads into the search space. In a different economy we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely,"

He went on to add: "But for now, we will be closing the doors on the Wikia Search project (as of March 31, 2009) and will be re-directing and refocusing resources on other Wikia.com properties, especially on Wikianswers. Join me there to help provide freely licensed answers to all the world’s questions."

Unlike Wales' other projects, Wikia Search was always intended to be a revenue-generating project, with plans in place to try to replicate Google's success with ad sales and sponsorship. 

Some will undoubtedly be surprised at the move – just over a month ago, Nielsen cited Wikia.com (the associated Social Network, which won't be closing) as the 5th fastest growing community on the internet. Unlike it's sister community though, Wikia Search hasn't been able to make a dent in the search domination of Google, Yahoo and MSN. But did anyone really think they could in the first place…?


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