Wikia - a serious Google competitor?

Wikia Is Wikia the next Google killer or just one of many new search engines out there?

After my friend Marshall over at Webmetricsguru (a must read webanalytics blog!) gave me the tip about a speech of Jimmy Wales at NYU, I headed out of the office leaving all the crap behind and joined a session with famous Jimmy Wales - founder of Wikia.com - the new community driven search engine.

The event was hosted by the Freeculture at NYU organziation and was also co-sponsored by NYU’s ACM and NYU’s WinC chapters.

Jimmy started with his first successful project Wikipedia and moved pretty quickly on to Wikia. His new idea is a free and democratic search engine, that even publishes it's Algos. A pure community driven seach, that could bring higher relevancy than Google, Yahoo or MSN.

After listening to him, I was suprised about his knowledge. He is really smart and has deep knowledge of what is going on in the internet world. Still I believe his search engine will never take off and compete seriously with Google or other major engines.

My reasons:

1.Competition. Wikia competes against a billion $ industry. The internet has evolved and Google and others are able to deliver relevant results. If Wikias traffic rises, Google and others will tweak their Algos so the majority won't even hear about Wikia. Evil yes, but in this business is too much money.

2. Content. The wisdom of the crowd is always a good way to grab quality content. Still I believe a search engine is something completely different than a "content directory" (like wikipedia). Once wikia is popular, it will be spammed and scammed on an hourly basis. Already today smart guys started writing articles and building trust in Wikia. DMOZ and Wikipedia flaws should show what human "editors" are able to do.

3. Search is personal. Every human is different and has different taste. If I am looking for an apartment, I might want a safe place with a broker. My neighbor prefers a free listing from Craigslist. Where does Wikia start? Who decides what ranks first? Personalization is the future and I just cannot see Wikia anywhere.

4. Second tier search engines technology. According to Jimmy second tier search engines approached him. They wanted to cooperate, but Wikia wants to open the algos. Cooperations, which could be a fast way of integrating technology seem kind of impossible. Wikia needs to launch a search engine from scratch.

5. Disclaimer: I am born and raised in Germany. "We" build Beamers, Mercedes and invented MP3. Still we are born not believe in great ideas like Jimbos. So take my opinion and discount my German genes. Now you are probably convinced by Wikia :-)

Despite all my points about Wikia this was a great event. I really appreciate the entire NYU team to make this a public and free event! The NYU team had the ability to make me remember the great days in school.

What I forgot...my stalker photos (click to enlarge) of Jim Wales. After leaving the event I also met my "old friend" Will Smith jumping out of his car at Washington Square Park. He never told me that he is a Webanalyst ;-)

Jimmy Jimbo willi1.jpg