Wikia launches

Ah, who am I kidding. You don’t want to hear me talk about the Davos question. I know that webmasters and search engine optimizers alike are all over at Wikia taking it for a test drive. I’m sure that SEOs are trying to figure out how this scoring:

Sorting algorithm to score viagra query

means that a site ranks highly for viagra. That’s cool. I’m over on Wikia testing it out tonight as well. Maybe I’ll see you over there:

I show up for the term SEO

Wikia is catching some initial negative reactions, but I think this is one of those projects where it will take time to see how Wikia’s search experience develops. So my reaction is pretty simple: congrats to the Wikia crew on your public launch, and welcome to the search industry! I’m glad that you’re jumping into the search space.

60 Responses to Wikia launches (Leave a comment)

  1. So at last they launched…
    Thanks for the info matt.
    Lets all gear up for the show. This must be some pretty interesting stuff.

  2. As soon as it went live, It was a toss up…

    either create an article about SEO or create one about Search Engine Optimization….

  3. Hmm, you appear to be a matching person for the keyword “viagra” 🙂

  4. Matt, I just noticed your picture now comes up alongside the wikia SERP for viagra. I will be having a look at it tonight as well.

  5. Good to see some (more) interactivity coming to search engines. I tried to evangelize a little bit to get people onto CSE / COOP, but for most people it is easier to complain about spammy results than working together to get things better. If wikia does a good job (or gets more of us to invest some time and KNOLs) the search engines will grow to the next level.

  6. I think is soon to say much about it.
    It is going to take a while for us to be able to see how this brand new human based Search Engine works.

  7. It surely introduces some new and interesting ideas to search, and it’s obvious that it will take time, users’ data and experimentation till Wikia figures out what are the right mix for a next-gen search.

    I have high hopes for Wikia, we just need to give it some time.

    My review here:

  8. We need ‘human powered search’ like a fish needs a bicycle; it’s limited in scope and much to easy to to game. Which may be why none has yet caught the public imagination.

    Anyway, they could have waited for mahalo to retire before they took over the ‘hopeless’ position, surely? It’s almost disrespectful.

  9. I’m just waiting for the knols to come out and play! 😛

  10. happy new year and welcome back, matt!

    Andrew: I disagree, IMHO is the idea great but the technology not ready. Human powered search is something Google plays around with, too. We saw feedback forms and the team of matt is occasionally killing spam sites manually. The human factor can be powerful, but not on the usual paths of a robot reading the web and trying to factor in some feedback. So, your critics are right: “easy to game”, “does not scale well”, but the concept behind is OK it is just the question how you solve these negative aspects!

  11. He he he, you get to see a lot of websites you’ve never seen before when using wikia. 🙂

  12. I agree the results seem scattered almost vaguely interesting.

    I do like the previous results left on the page – i think that is a nice touch.

  13. Good to see you promoting the competition? And yes we do need another search engine, I am not down on google – I do well from them as do many others, but it is just like Pepsi needs Coke – and honestly two just feels a bit safer.

    By the way – have a great 2008 – and keep writing, cheers.

  14. So Wikia is based on Nutch is it?

    It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out, there are a lot of people entering the search space at the moment (myself included – see

    Matt, do you think it will make your job more difficult if people do start to understand all of these term-ranking metrics?

  15. My gut reaction is that it could never work…but then again most of us probably thought the same thing about wikipedia 😉

  16. Matt,
    Try to search for Viagra on that Wikia and you shouldn’t be too surprised whose picture you’ll find there. After all, you need some stimulants to be having a love affair with some many webmasters every day 🙂

  17. It is fun to read your post Matt. From the tone of your post it sounds like you are like the rest of us trying to see how we can use it to our advantage.

  18. And also the search results are lean, anyway how I forget it is human power search engine. 🙂

  19. Ok, you and Brian ranked first for , but I’ve got 😉

  20. “We need ‘human powered search’ like a fish needs a bicycle”

    I’m not sure I agree with that, Andrew. See for some thoughts I wrote up last year; I think we’ve used people pretty successfully in webspam at Google, for example.

    Tim Wintle, yes, I believe this version is based on Nutch. I’m not sure whether a bunch of informational retrieval-savvy SEOs will make a huge difference or not, but I’m certain that some SEOs are brushing up on phrases like “IDF”. 🙂

    Dave Dugdale, I’m more just getting a feel for the engine than doing anything much. I’m glad that someone is trying out this idea, and competition is good for users.

  21. I doubt that anybody gets it right the first time. Be patient to see what develops. The only concern I have about a human edited search engine is, with so much content and so few professionals, how can they possibly remain impartial, even when great information makes it’s debut? Such a search engines dependency on human interaction could essentially be a crutch.

  22. Hmm

    my initial questions

    wonder how they are going get it to scale.
    how they will deal with conficts of interest and coruption.
    capture by cliques.
    how long before the first seo gets banned 🙂

    and the scale issue is a BIG ask

    still it will give me smothing to write about for our works blog

  23. Sebastian

    I like this one too.

    For search query harith emmy ozzie no mention to Matt Cutts 🙂

  24. Why has Wikia the name “search engine”? The interface is ugly, poorly organized.

    Is this the long expected addon?

  25. Try googling matt cutss and see the mini article! 😉

  26. This is one slow search engine, blech.

    The only thing I now know for sure is which bot was actually feeding Wikia: “Grub/2.0 ( crawler;;”

    They claim it’s a distributed crawler but I’ve only seen it come from that IP so it seems it appears it’s just distributed to 😉

    The only thing I’m curious about is that I never let them crawl my site yet that grubby little bot knew some deep linked page names so there’s more to this story than meets the eye already.

  27. Looks like a school project for now but there are some interesting ideas there. I especially like to see how they’d implement the user voting mechanism – their weight on ranking and the huge challenges to control abuse, for example. Liked the popup though: ” Sorry. These don’t actually do anything yet 🙁 “

  28. I am not too enthused about this Wikia and all the uproar about Wikipedia. Everything is biased. Whenever I do a search on certain things, Google gives top priority to Wikipedia’s content. Content, content, content, and the relevancy of the content. It is quiet clear that neither Machine alone nor Human alone, can make the search truly “Organic”. My question is “WHY DO WE NEED WIKIA?” It is clearly another SPAM tool.

    Left is too controlling, right is virtuous, but extreme right is like coming full circle to the left, feeding what it deemed to be the right information. Think about it!!!

  29. I actually the design, looks fresh and clean. I really wonder where Wikia will stand after a few months. Seems to me they still have quite some work to do, but look at where wikipedia stand at this very point.

  30. Hrmmm… cannot find my Harley Davidson forum in there, even thought we have great keyword rankings on google…

    Is there really room for more search engines?

  31. Wikia has one major problem. I would argue that it needs to be even more relevant than Google to make any kind of impact. Not just as relevant or slightly more relevant. It needs to be an order of magnitude more relevant than the current top-tier contenders.

    Here’s why. Obviously if you aren’t as good as Google or even Yahoo, people will just use Google/Yahoo. MSN and ASK proved that much already. However, since this is a Wikipedia-related endeveour, it’s got an even bigger monkey on its back. Wikipedia is easy, concise, and seems fairly accurate to the average user. Trying to piggyback on the Wikipedia brand is ok, except that if you aren’t simple, relevant, and concise you aren’t going to win anything. You’ll be an also-ran much the same way that Ask is.

    You don’t even have to look at spam keywords to find ridiculous results in Wikia. Look up George Washington on there and you’ll get a top 10 result about George Washington in Barbados from a Barbados MFA site. Sure, the results are bound to get better, but I don’t see Wikia replacing any other engine anytime soon.

  32. Speaking of new kinds of search results .. when did Google start showing a page of ads before the organic results for site searches? Seems very inappropriate to me. Certainly useless, considering the point of searching for “keyword site:domain.tld” is to return results from that domain, not from ads. What’s going on?

  33. Dave (original)

    We need ‘human powered search’ like a fish needs a bicycle; it’s limited in scope and much to easy to to game.

    Agree and it’s well beyond a viable scope, unless the population of China is employed.

    Humans, IMO, can only fill the gaps in SE algorithms. E.g algorithms flag sites for manual review.

  34. Welcome back Matt. Just one question. Any significance to the Viagara example?? (Think I just got banned for life gang … 🙂

  35. After some tests with Wikia I am mostly disappointed not only with the Quality (that will improve) but with the Processes in the backend. I see the same methods like in Wikipedia: non transparent deletions, low communication skills and the bad feeling to work for free for somebody who earns money with this venture.

  36. So ALL of this damn hype, and they are using an OPEN SOURCE search engine script? (

    You can’t call this a big project, get a few servers install nutch and let it roll, not exactly the largest feat in the world now is it? They don’t even include Host grouping damn it! Its just a lazy attempt at a search engine, mocked together with a half decent design and features aren’t working, Japanese characters are showing for a ton of searches (broadly).

    The hype, was just that! Hype, nothing is custom about this, the rating would of been something original, had it worked……

  37. search “viagra” on vikia. you will see your photo too :))

  38. Nice example of Viagra, lol, I personally lost using wikia search engine, though I was playing with it, I just wasted my time to find a relevant search results.

  39. Hi Matt,

    Looks like the Wikia approach involves building a whole new community in order to build up the relevance of search results. Instead of starting on a clean slate, how about leveraging on the current leading social bookmarking communities (e.g. to enhance the combined metasearch results from the major search engines (Google, Yahoo! Search, Windows Live Search)?

    We’ve just launched a web search service called ( that does this. Results are grouped together and sorted according to the search engine rankings plus the popularity of the sites according to the social bookmarking community.

    There’s also a feature to allows you to tune and personalize the search results on-the-fly by simply adjusting the weight for each search source through the use of sliders.

    Hope that you have some time to check it out, any feedback is welcome so that the service can be improved. Thanks!

  40. funny, they don’t have language preferences yet.

    I guess this is what Google Results would look like without language preferences and spam filters.

    Proof your work actually matters, Matt… 😛

  41. Oh boy, this is going to be really interesting…..

    [blockquote]Mini Article About “matt cutts” Edit?
    Matt Cutts is a nerd!
    Expand – History – Full Article

    I guess it really is human powered… lol

    How long will it take before somebody will feel offended and sue Wikia

  42. Oh boy, this is going to be really interesting…..

    Mini Article About “matt cutts” Edit?
    Matt Cutts is a nerd!
    Expand – History – Full Article

    I guess it really is human powered… lol

    How long will it take before somebody will feel offended and sue Wikia

  43. Matt, I did a search for [free porn] and your picture came up, that’s really not what I was looking for!

  44. The only thing that makes sense with this product is the mascot with the puffy cheeks… the mascot looks like it is about to blow and so does this search engine. It appears that the best way to rank in this POS is to have keywords in the URL.

    I am not negative on this product because I don’t have any clients ranking in the system as I do see plenty of listings but I do see a recurring theme here of keyword based domains.

  45. I tried to register but a page with no form is displayed. Looks like a long way for this project to go before people would start to use this over traditional search engines. For now it looks like another site the spammers can try to exploit.

  46. Not very accurate results. It’ll be awhile till they get better.

  47. It is new and will take time for it to develop

  48. I took it for a quick spin around the block.
    I noticed my blog is number #1 for my primary term but my blog is a subdomain of my main website. My main website which ranks highly in all other engines was nowhere in the top 50.

    Its a strange result, I’m thinking it works more based on XHTML CSS Validation than age of domain name, credibility and other factors.

  49. Matt,

    Do you think that Wikia Search is a site that I should start targeting now for Social Media Optimization or should I wait until they have all the bugs worked out?

    Thank you,
    Ryan Bessling

  50. Dong? Where is my auto-mobile?

  51. @ Sebastian
    hehehe… you and Matt both come up for “porn”!

  52. Matt,

    That’s awesome that you’re showing respect to a project/company that has obviously stated that they will be competition (in a few more words), in the future.

    I’m actually looking forward to seeing Wikia in Beta. So far, I’m really liking what I see. It’s just different, to say the least. I think it will be a pretty big hit. Google Killer? Far from it… but the demographics are surely going to differ, as well.

  53. I checked it out, being that I’m currently doing SEO for a highly competitive area, Health Insurance, for my health insurance buyers book. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any spam (yet) on the mini article for health insurance. However, when I was trying to see examples of the mini articles, there were a number of spam-like postings. I don’t know how they’re going to be able to police the spam that people put up without an army of spam cops, but perhaps they know something about managing that type of content that I don’t.

  54. Dave (original)

    Matt, the whole SE is a real mess with locking up and showing personal pictures of people for non-related search terms. The latter alone has me hitting the Back button.

    Don’t you object to your picture showing for “Porn”?

  55. Matt, though I am posting my comment for the first time but I am really impressed and happy to get this awesome information. I have visited this site ‘wikia’ and feel that this is a great site that would be helpful for the web community and the SE optimizers.

  56. Hi Matt,

    Being new in the industry of search engine marketing and optimization it makes me wonder by what standards the wikia site will set its search algorithm, I know Google is constantly changing theirs and will Wikia ever catch up.

    A few industry buffs i have come across have said the site will one day it will match the power of google, this is going to be a nightmare for optimisers across the globe!

    Being from the UK i can see SEM becoming a huge industry over here, its pretty big anyhow. Keep you the good work.

  57. Try googling matt cutts and see the mini article! 😉

    Mich, I feel the need to point out that googling != searching. As Merriam-Webster points out, to Google is “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.” Therefore, one would not Google me on Wikia or Microsoft. Maybe you would wikia me on 🙂 See here for more info:

  58. Hi Matt
    I just took a look at Wikia’s search engine.

    As soon as the page loaded in front of me. I had to take a couple of seconds to figure out which was the text form field for search. The textbox looked like some table with a border. And then their ‘Go’ button is similar to their logo and their footer logo. That seems a little distracting when such uniformity is applied to a page with very little content.

    I tried searching for ‘Google’. I had to wait for about 3seconds for the search results to load. Google’s search results load immediately on my laptop. And I got a few profile links on the right pane. Almost all links had an image with a text “No photo” text (not to mention, one of the images had the attributes as ‘ure worse then google’ and I am a Google lover). And worse, when I clicked on a profile link, it led me to a login page! Why would anyone use Wikia search when there’s Google that searches for free.

    Hail Google 🙂
    It works for me

  59. Matt,

    It’s amazing how much of a personal feel your blog gives. I can’t wait to see what
    Google does next to expand our horizons. You definately seem to be the trend setters.

  60. What is the purpose behind side wiki? Is it the same that as Wikia?