Wikia, the profit oriented project of Wikipedia founder Jim Wales is one to watch. Alexa rankings for the last six months show a move from below 6,000 to around 1,500 world rank today. In the U.S. it is close to breaking into the top 1,000. CNN profiled Wales' Wikia project and the money funding it. The article points out;

" More than 30,000 people have created nearly 500,000 Wikia articles in 45 languages. Collectively, the sites are attracting about 2.5 million pageviews a day, slightly more traffic than the website of the Los Angeles Times. Wikia's growth in pageviews, in fact, is a bit better than Wikipedia's was at the same stage of its development.

"So far, the traction looks great," Levine says. "
Wikia can be three to five times bigger at the end of the year and then do it again. When you do that over a few years, you get to be pretty big."

So what will this new search engine offer marketers, specifically small business marketers? Wikia.com is in wiki form and therefore is made up of information provided by users. This allows small businesses to list their own business where they can enjoy reviews as well as being part of their local Wikia community. I searched for my area and found no listings of any businesses or links of any kind. Here is the page for my zip code. Since Wikia is so new it's likely most zip codes or neighborhoods are blank. Being first in may be an advantage if wikia lives up to its potential.
Take a look at the difference between Wikia's Tokyo page and Wikipedia's Tokyo page. Wikipedia's pages look stark compared to Wikia and you see ads attached to the Wikia pages, something I see as opportunity as time goes on.
Google loves Wikipedia and is showing some big time love to Wikia already.

I'll add that my kids use Wikipedia and their friends do as well. Most of the kids (teens) in their group prefer Wikipedia to Google or Answers.com. Google is too much and not enough and Answers is too polished, go figure!

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