Wikia turns a small profit on advertising

Wikia is building a commercial business on user-generated content

Wikia, the for-profit company built on user-contributed content, turned a small profit last quarter for the first time, said co-founder Jimmy Wales on Tuesday.

Wikia "just barely" made a profit, but the results are encouraging, said Wales, who founded Wikipedia, the user-contributed online encyclopedia.

Wikia operates independently of Wikipedia, which is a nonprofit. Wales spoke at the Symbian Exchange and Exposition in London.

Wikia describes itself as a "consumer publishing platform" where people can create pages devoted to specific interests. That's different than Wikipedia, which strives to be an all-encompassing online encyclopedia.

Much of Wikia's most popular content revolves around games and entertainment. Wales said one of his favorite wikis is dedicated to hacking the firmware in Canon's cameras, a wiki that has more than 384 instructional articles.

Canon has taken notice, too, and started engaging people in the community, Wales said.

"This is providing rich opportunities for advertisers," said Wales.

Unlike Wikipedia, Wikia has advertising. It sells ads via its own sales team and uses ads from Google and advertising networks, Wales said.

Wikia, which has received venture capital funding including approximately $10 million from Amazon.com, has about 40 employees worldwide.

The biggest competitor for Wikia is perhaps About.com, a Web site owned by the New York Times Company.

About.com writers, however, get paid, whereas Wikia's contributors do not.

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