Jimbo Wales, the God-King, Sole-flounder, or Spiritual leader of Wikipedia (depending on your gullibility) launched his latest scheme, Wikia Search, today.
But his renewed efforts to make big-bucks off the back of unpaid volunteers like you fell on stony ground with a cynical media. This was no doubt due to the sharp realization that his previous venture was teetering out of control at Wales’s own hands. A string of scandals have undermined what faith people had left in the “encyclopedia”, and with questions still unanswered about the relationship between the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and the for-profit Wikia, the knives are surely out.
According to a critical Salon Magazine:
TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington called it “one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had the displeasure of reviewing.” And at Search Engine Land, Chris Sherman labels Search Wikia “essentially useless as a search engine,” and he wonders if the project can ever succeed, and, indeed, if it’s even necessary.
Our own resident polymath, Jonny Cache, was the first Reviewer to test Wales’s “revolutionary tool”*. Inevitably, Wikia exhibited the same level of competence and responsibility as its spiritual brother:
That’s right. The first entry for George W. Bush was a guide to the site “George Bush is A Crackwhore“.
Back at Wikipedia, it was business as usual. Bush was “President of the United States and a cage dancer by night”, whose “Vice President was Osama Bin Laden“. Oh and he’s “a dickhead and a crook” as well, if you didn’t know already.
(* See comment 2)