Wikia Search: Let’s give it a break

by Mathew on January 7, 2008 · 14 comments

I’m generally in favour of bashing those who need to be bashed, and I definitely like taking the wind out of the Web 2.0 windbags (you know who you are), but I think the blogosphere is being a little hard on Wikia Search. Mike Arrington says that it’s a letdown, Allen Stern at Centernetworks
says it’s “not ready yet,” and Stan Schroeder of Frantic Industries comes right out and says that it sucks.

About the only person who’s being magnanimous (and can afford to be) is Google blogger Matt Cutts, who welcomes Wikia to the search business, although MG Siegler at ParisLemon says it actually looks pretty decent for something that’s in alpha. I’m inclined to give Jimmy Wales the benefit of the doubt on this one, but not because I’m one of those Wales sycophants that the always curmudgeonly Seth Finkelstein mentions.

As usual, something approaching what I think is a fair viewpoint emerges from the comments section of a blog — in this case, TechCrunch. Mike says that Wikia is disappointing, and in the comments Jimmy says that he warned everyone not to have high expectations about what it would look like, and notes that Wikipedia looked pretty rough in the early days too. That’s the problem with social anything — you can’t just pop out of the cake on day one with a built-in thriving community.

Is it just a bunch of links cobbled together by Nutch and Grub (names that sound like a couple of animated characters from a new Disney blockbuster)? Yes. It’s in alpha, for pete’s sake. For my part, I think I’m going to try and forget about Wikia Search for at least six months and then take a look around and see what’s there. If it’s still a ghost town, then maybe there will be something to get concerned about.

  • http://www.allaboutnortel.com Mark Evans

    Looks like you and I are aligned on the early criticism – http://www.markevanstech.com/2008/01/07/welcome

  • http://ravenseo.com/blog Jon Henshaw

    I actually had a different take on it. I'm really pleased by it. It's aesthetically pleasing and seems to work quite well for an alpha release. I also like that they didn't go overboard with the social networking features.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Yeah, I meant to link to you actually, but forgot — but now you've
    done it for me :-)

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Well, you're certainly in the minority so far, Jon. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Well, you're certainly in the minority so far, Jon. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.centernetworks.com/dave-winer-dealing-with-twitterdiction allen stern

    i wanted to like it – and i've been playing with it since day 1. it shoudln't have been launched today, period. it was rushed for no reason.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    A fair point, Allen — makes you wonder why Jimmy decided to rush it
    out the door. On the other hand, with a social site you pretty much
    need to get it running in order to build up any momentum, I suppose.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    If you want to see what I mean by sycophants, read:

    http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/03/the_b

    Regarding the rest, I'm keeping quiet for the moment.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Keeping quiet, Seth? I'm shocked :-)

  • http://www.parislemon.com MG Siegler

    Agreed Mathew and thanks for rightly catching me mostly going against the grain on this one. If Wikia Search is going to be a success it's going to be the social/communal aspects of it and I don't see how you can deem a site a failure from day one when basically neither of those are in place – at all.

    I had been worried about those social aspects after seeing the initial photos where were just a Facebook total rip-off died green, but after seeing they replaced that with a relatively simple and clean-looking social layer I'm a lot more optimistic. As you said, we'll see in 6 months.

  • http://j-chandler.blogspot.com Josh Chandler

    I just think that Wikia isn't hitting the right market, this whole idea of community search engines is a stupid idea really. I posted my thoughts on the Wikia search engine at this post:

    http://j-chandler.blogspot.com/2008/01/open-sou

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