James Williams

Bearish on Wikia Search

Tags: General

Edit: Wikia Search was shut down in 2009.

Full of AJAX-y goodness, Wikia tries to reinvent search with a community aspect with Wikia Search. I can't help but think it's a good-intentioned bad idea. It's already bad enough when someone engages in Wiki-vandalism. It sucks but it's somewhat self-contained. Wikia Search IMHO increases the power of the would-be vandalists. It's not unconceivable for rival companies to hire outside contractors to bury results from competitors and spotlight their own. Also, the ability to delete search results is not exactly a feature I would enable.

TechCrunch reported that "[Jimmy] Wales is relying on the community that grows up around Wikia Search to ban anyone trying to game the system." That thought works in the altrustic confines of Wikipedia but all bets are off when it comes to SEO. Be it imperfect and captialist, the source of the targeted/spotlighted results from Google Search is clear. The company paid some dinero to get highlighted and you can accordingly align your view of the claims made.

How do the general rules of Wikipedia work in the search space? It's generally frowned upon to edit your own Wikipedia entry. But on the other hand, in search, you would be the best person to know if a filter the wheat from the chaff.

It doesn't exactly telegraph confidence when you give users the option to see results from another search engine BEFORE you display your own search results.