Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales would like you to help him build the revenue for his new “for profit” venture Wikia. Wikia has acquired the distributed crawler Grub from LookSmart and Wales plans to make it open source. He’d like to invite the community to line his coffers.
In case you need a better understanding of Wales’ plans, he explains his motives:
“Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet. And, it is currently broken,” Wales said back in December 2006, when Wikia launched Search Wikia effort. “Why is it broken? It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability, lack of transparency.”
Of course, Wales forgets to mention that Wikipedia wouldn’t have anywhere near the success if its content didn’t appear in the top 5 of Google for just about every generic keyword you can imagine. It also slipped his mind that he has a track record of not exactly giving back to those that helped make it a success – they’ll happily “assimilate” your web content, just don’t expect a link back in the process.
I wish Jimmy Wales the best of luck, but if he really wants to change the world, why not improve the non-profit Wikipedia? If his plans involve Wikia – which means he’s in this for the money – spare us the sanctimonious spin.