Wiki Search Engine (née “WikiaSari”) to Launch by Year’s End

A quick refresher: WikiSeek is a search engine designed to search Wikipedia and sites that Wikipedia links to. Wikia is a for-profit company started by Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales. WikiaSari is the name of the software behind a Wikia search engine project, named in a naming contest in 2004.

Although the wiki search engine has frequently been called “WikiaSari,” Wikia does not plan on using that name. The support site is called “Search Wikia,” but that won’t be the name of the search engine, either. Still with me?

Not to be confused with WikiSeek, the also-much-publicized NotWikiaSari wiki-inspired search engine should launch by the end of the year, according to Jimbo Wales. Wales made the statement from a Wiki Camp in India. (And no, that’s not where exiled Wikipedians go, it’s an unstructured, wiki-inspired gathering for Wikipedians.)

For those of us who haven’t been rabidly following this story, how is a wiki search engine different? Naturally, anyone can edit the SERPs. The algorithm will also be publicly available.

While Search Wikia calls this “a new free/open source search engine with user-editable search results,” I’m thinking “Spam City.” Whether by exploiting the algorithm (or editing it if it’s completely wikified) or by editing the results, unscrupulous SEOs (ie, the ones who actually are crooks) will take advantage of this if it’s at all possible.

According to one interview, this has not escaped Wales:

Sure, says Wales, “But security through obscurity is a bad idea.” If you have published algorithms, then everyone, including scientists can see it. Then those illuminated minds could contribute to the improvement of the product, is the inference. “But if it is kept secret, then the bad guys, who have all the time in the world and are dedicated to gaining access to your algorithm, will somehow find a way.”

They’ll find a way to exploit it . . . or erase it and replace it with, “ha ha u wont find NE content hear!”

Unlike Wikipedia, NotWikiaSari is a for-profit venture. In the same interview, Wales estimates that “if [it] garners 3 per cent of the search engine market, it would be a sustainable model” based on advertising revenues.