August 26, 2008

Wikipedia the nonprofit as PR for Wikia the commercial ad-farm

Another day, another gem of how Wikipedia is used to promote the digital-sharecropping of Wikia, this time from a sports site ESPN interview:

[ESPN] What are some of the current trends along the Wikipedia online collaboration model, especially in sports?

[JW] People are taking some of the core ideas of Wikipedia and starting to move "beyond the encyclopedia". For example, at the Wikia site Armchair GM, sports fan use a variation of the original wiki software that runs Wikipedia to manage discussions about sports.

[ESPN] Where do you think Wikipedia fits in the broader framework of what's happening in society now with user-driven content?

[JW] I think Wikipedia was just the leading edge of a much broader trend. At Wikia, we are seeing people build out all kinds of collaborative works... "the rest of the library." The biggest category is gaming sites, unbelievably in-depth and accurate how-to manuals for every possible game. More than 70,000 articles about the World of Warcraft. And of course fan sites for tons of different teams, sports, etc.

Note the pattern in those responses (Wikipedia ... Wikia) - how they "bridge" from Wikipedia, the nonprofit project to Wikia, the commercial $14million venture-capital funded business with an intrinsic motivation of making investors rich (though profitability is a problem). That is, Wikipedia is presented as some sort of prototype or proof-of-concept for a system where a few digital-sharecropping site owners rake in big bucks from massive unpaid labor. And remember, for anyone tempted to do the tactic of rebuttal via personal attack, I'm not the one who wrote about "World of Wiki: Potential Advertising Goldmine" or the plan to "commercialize the hell out of it".

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on August 26, 2008 11:54 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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If you've ever listened to BBC Radio 4's (lack of)Thought for the Day, you'll similarly notice the seguing from 'Reasonable analysis/commentary on topical issue' into 'Jesus/The Bible/Christians would blah, blah, blah...' in a dismal attempt to reframe the issue as a familiar one, being within the latter's jurisdiction and quite addressable given the 'correct' perspective.

It seems Wikia, the spawned 'religion/church', is similarly seguing a pretence of jurisdiction and ownership of Wikipedia based public works - no doubt relying upon popular recognition of the divinity that entitles them to do so.

The technique of seguing as a means of inducing possession must be taught as a reliable PR trick somewhere?

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at August 27, 2008 04:33 AM

If only the Wikipedia "community" would elect a Board member with a strong voice against Jimbo's hypocrisy and self-dealing, then the Board itself might get up the collective nerve to object to this misuse of the Wikipedia phenomenon for personal gain.

Instead, we got Ting Chen, and (I'm sure) another year of the Board fawning all over Jimbo's wonderfulness.

Posted by: Gregory Kohs at August 30, 2008 12:07 AM