September 15, 2008

Google effects as Digital Sharecroppers leave Wikia's Electronic Plantation

The Transformers (shape-changing toy robots) fan wiki-community, which I wrote about in my Guardian article concerning Wikia digital sharecroppers leaving the electronic plantation, has now completed their site emigration away from the mandatory ad-farm that forms Wikia's business plan. I wish them well. Now one interesting question is what happens in terms of Google rankings for the two sites.

Notably, the process of moving the site involved stripping out automatically inserted backlinks to Wikia in the pages generated to move the site, as explained in the post "The last helicopter out of Wikia (filtering page text)"

Wikia has inserted an extra link back to itself! in the exported text! Don't believe me? Check it out! How obnoxious! That's at the bottom of every page! ...

But gosh, it sure makes it harder for us to leave, doesn't it? And when we do - why there's millions of links from us back to Wikia's near-identical content! Links that improve their Google ratings... and harm ours. (Google looks down on re-presented content.)

[That "millions" is definitely an over-estimate, since all the history versions of wiki pages are not indexed, but the main idea still stands]

Anyway, does community win over inertia and cross-promotion? This is a fascinating test. Good luck climbing Mount PageRank ...

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google , wikia | on September 15, 2008 11:59 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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Thanks for the support and the coverage. We're pushing hard to make this grand experiment work... if it can work for us, it can work for others.

(Want some fun? We're being accused of vandalising the old wiki by the handler thrown in to try and keep the place from completely falling apart without the presence of the old community! Hahahah! What's especially amusing is we don't HAVE to, as the old wiki is falling apart quite nicely on its own as the Wikipidedia-style "non-notability, non-confrontation, non-print-news-source, non-entertainment" crowd basically turns the place into a dessicated shell, on top of the usual pack of anon vandals that plagued us when we WERE keeping vigilant watch on the place.)

Posted by: Greg Sepelak at September 17, 2008 02:19 PM

Just for reference

"Deletionpedia is a web site consisting entirely of articles deleted from Wikipedia."
"This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia's deletion policy."

Posted by: tqft at September 18, 2008 01:52 AM

Greg: You're welcome. I'm hoping it works, and Google hasn't build a moat which keeps people effectively prisoner.

tqft: I've seen that idea before, but the problem is usually maintaining interest of the people running the site.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at September 20, 2008 02:35 AM