Wikia

Wikia, the eventually-for-profit version of Wikipedia, is to become less reference work in look and more magazine in feel.

The Silicon Valley company, which hopes to make money by featuring advertising on its community of special-interest wikis, has made its first significant acquisition – buying ArmchairGM, a sports site that uses the same wiki software, for $2m.

It has also attracted an undisclosed amount in second-round funding from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

Gil Penchina, Wikia’s chief executive, told us he loves the look of ArmchairGM with its Digg-like voting on the latest news.

“They have built something that looks more like a magazine and we think that technology can be applied to any topic in the world.”

On Amazon taking a stake, he said: “They have been doing user-generated content for 10 years. We sat down with Jeff Bezos and talked, and we realised we had content on every [product].”

He hopes Amazon will eventually link to relevant wikis. That would boost ad revenues and push Wikia towards profitability. Its sites have more than 1m unique users a month now and are enjoying double-digit growth, despite the CEO admitting he has spent a grand total of $5.74 with Google on marketing them.

Chris Nuttall, San Francisco

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