Jimmy Wales: People are smarter than Google

Do you have targets you’re trying to hit, or numbers of users you think you’ll need to make the collaborative feature work?

Jimmy Wales: People are smarter than Google

We mostly play it by ear, and wing it as we go along. We’re looking at the number of people coming for accounts, the number of friendships, people linking to each other in the social networking part, the number of daily queries, number of daily votes. We’re basically gathering data right now, and thinking about how to change what we’re doing.

It sounds like an experiment – is that fair?

Yeah, sure.

Did that element come up with your investors?

Wikia Search is only one of our projects. We have several thousand wikis which are going very quickly and that community space is growing. Wikia Search could become very important to the business but at the moment it’s just the part that’s most interesting in terms of press coverage but… yeah, the investors know I’m going to do interesting, crazy stuff, they just hope I make it popular.

And profitable, presumably. Do you have any plans to earn revenue from the site?

We’re planning to have advertising in the search results. We don’t have any particularly innovative plans around that. One of the great things Google has done for the internet is pioneering keyword-relevant text-based ads, which has really meant wonderful things for the internet. [As for a time-frame], I have no idea. that’s Gil’s [Penchina, CEO of Wikia] job. My job is to make it good, make it popular and then somebody else can monetise it.

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