August 15, 2008

"World of Wiki: Potential Advertising Goldmine"

They said it, I didn't:

"World of Wiki: Potential Advertising Goldmine"

And he said it, I didn't:

[Jimmy Wales] gives the example of [Wikia]'s World of Warcraft community. Yes, WOW, the role playing online game (RPG) with some 8 million customers. "It's just a huge phenomenon. By our estimate, about 4 million people a month visit the World of Warcraft [site on Wikia]. The community comes to us, they write about the game, they talk about the game, they document everything -- it's a really really in depth content," Wales says. ...

"For advertisers this is a really targeted demographic ... you know exactly who they are, you know they are gamers and they spend time, a lot of time playing online multiplayer games. If you want to reach a certain demographic this is a great place to do it -- if you don't, then don't waste your money and so that actually works really well for advertisers," Wales goes on.

Of course, there are some problems with Wikia's strategy.

Now, note "I'm not selling Wikipedia"

In 2004, he started a for-profit company called Wikia, a community and search engine for wikis. He said that company is valued at US$70 million.

So remember digital-sharecroppers - it's all about people, it's all about connections, it's all about community - and selling them to advertisers to make a buck (or more than 70 million bucks, supposedly, on paper).

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on August 15, 2008 11:39 PM (Infothought permalink)
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Has anyone addressed this issue from the point of view of the game publisher, Blizzard?

Most game companies encourage or tolerate modding, community fan websites etc., probably everything short of pirating the original binary or artwork.

But what happens when a venture capital backed "A List" company says to your competitor: "Reach millions of Blizzard's most dedicated subscribers with an ad for your new online game"?

At that point does Blizzard have to act to protect the subscriber base of its game from being raided? Does it need to withdraw the tacit permission that allows websites like WoW to operate? (Any negative "blogosphere" blowback could probably ameliorated by Blizzard hosting the WoW material on an "official" WoW wiki, _without_ ads).

I would also guess that many other WoW websites probably have Google ads or the equivalent to help pay the bills. In effect, allowing other gaming companies to reach Blizzard's subscribers, or profit from association with WoW. But that is obviously small beans, and not worth the effort to police.

But when major news media start trumpeting the ability of your competitors to reach your subscribers through community websites dedicated to your games, you probably have to do something.

A comment from Blizzard would be interesting.

Posted by: anon at August 17, 2008 10:13 PM

anon: I don't know if Blizzard has gone down that path, but I do know that some big companies have not been happy about fan sites, sometimes viewing them as stepping over the line into copyright infringement.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at August 19, 2008 08:33 AM