Wikia Search Launch Not Really a Launch

After much hype Wikia Search just launched with a dummy index. No surprise the launch was received badly. Worse yet, none of the alleged human relevancy tools are available. Wasted opportunity. Google has at least another year of having no real competition.

Published: January 7, 2008 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


January 7, 2008 - 9:11pm

I totally agree... even on the home page of the main italian newspaper there was an article about it, but once you go there "it doesn't do anything yet!"... with the smily... i don't see anything to smile about...

January 7, 2008 - 9:49pm

Yup terrible launch. To bad for them. They really got a lot of press today. To bad it is going to be all bad.

James Dunn
January 8, 2008 - 12:18am

A new search engine that is spam-filled and unimpressive? What a shocker! I like the results for "miserable failure".

January 8, 2008 - 12:58am

I met Jimmy Wales at a Wiki Camp about a year ago same time last year. Very approachable man. I brought up the topic of 'manipulation of the system by.. ahem.. undercover SE experts..' and he said "the answer to vandalism is not closing down the system, or we wouldn't have had wikipedia in the first place".

January 8, 2008 - 1:34am

While it's perectly natural to judge wikia by going to the search page and looking at the quality of the results, I think we're missing the point somewhat here. This is an alpha release of a project to build an open search engine.

To put it another way, how many positive reviews would the new encyclopedia wikipedia have recieved on day one?

January 8, 2008 - 1:40am

But, as Michael Arrington said, Wales kept comparing his idea to Google and branding it as a Google killer. Nobody is against a quit launch, but it is wasteful to bang the drum to make noise only to launch with something like this.

January 8, 2008 - 3:15am

I am glad to see that others were as frustrated and disappointed as I with Wikia. I have to agree with Aaron here and say that Google can sit back and roll around in their money again this year as Wikia is already proving itself to be no threat to Google.

January 8, 2008 - 5:40am

I think I would have waited to launch until it was ready to rock. The users they could have gotten just fro the initial press could have been loyal users from that point on. Now I tend to think those same users may never visit again even if it does get better because of the bad experience they had. I dunno, hope they make something good to give google some competition.

January 8, 2008 - 6:28am

Totally agree Shawn. They could have started distributing a viral toolbar that builds huge organic search volume.

January 11, 2008 - 5:01am

There are a lot of ways that they could promote it like that, Aaron - plugins, overlays, sidebars... but until they have a real viable search engine (Nutch & Grub out of the box are far worse than Altavista was in 1999) they'll get no traction.

To make a viable search product, they need real information retrieval scientists and experts involved, and I don't know how they'll be able to do that. You can't build a good search engine without some very sophisticated link analysis, for one thing.

I posted about this problem on my blog today - I think that creating a useful search engine might simply be too big, and too difficult, for an open source effort, especially one that's led by such a controversial figure.

January 11, 2008 - 6:24am

I was shocked by the result quality to say the least. I believe they are screwed.

What is even rougher about creating a search engine from scratch right now is that spam is so much more sophiscticated than it was back in 1999.

What happened when Looksmart shut down WiseNut? Also could Jimmy Wales get a guy like Matt Wells (Gigablast) to jump on this project? It seems they need a front man other than Jimmy, but I am not sure if he would want anyone else at the front.

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