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)