Fandom,[a] also known as Wikia (especially before October 2016) and Wikicities before 2006, is a wiki hosting service and domain operated by Wikia, Inc., a for-profit Delaware company founded in October 2004 by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley and headed by Perkins Miller as CEO. Fandom uses the open-source wiki software MediaWiki, the same used by the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikia, Inc. derives its income from advertising and sold content, publishing most user-provided text under copyleft licenses. The company also runs the associated Fandom editorial project, offering pop-culture and gaming news.
Most wikis are hosted under the domain fandom.com, but some, especially those whose focus is a subject other than media franchises, are hosted under wikia.org.
|Type of business||Private|
Type of site
|Wiki hosting service|
|Founded||October 18, 2004|
Angela Beesley Starling
|Key people||Perkins Miller (CEO)|
Jimmy Wales (President)
|Alexa rank||26 (US), 60 (global)(April 2019)|
|Advertising||Direct and advertising networks|
|Users||~15 million (as of June 2018)|
|Launched||October 18, 2004 (as Wikicities)|
|Creative Commons Attribution/|
Media licensing varies
Wikia was launched on October 18, 2004 under the name "Wikicities" (which invited comparisons to GeoCities), by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley Starling—respectively Chairman Emeritus and Advisory Board member of the Wikimedia Foundation. The name of the project was changed to "Wikia" on March 27, 2006. In the month before the move, Wikia announced a US$4 million venture capital investment from Bessemer Venture Partners and First Round Capital. Nine months later, Amazon.com invested US$10 million in Series B funding.
By September 2006, it had approximately 1,500 wikis in 48 languages. Over time, Wikia has incorporated formerly independent wikis such as LyricWiki, Nukapedia, Uncyclopedia, and WoWWiki. Gil Penchina described Wikia early on as "the rest of the library and magazine rack" to Wikipedia's encyclopedia. The material has also been described as informal, and often bordering on entertainment, allowing the importing of maps, YouTube videos, and other non-traditional wiki material.
By 2010, wikis could be created in 188 different languages. In October 2011, Wikia announced that Craig Palmer, the former CEO of Gracenote, would replace Penchina as CEO. On February 8, 2012, co-founder Beesley Starling announced she was leaving Wikia to launch a startup called ChalkDrop.com. At the end of November 2012, it was announced that Wikia had raised another US$10.8 million in Series C funding from Institutional Venture Partners and previous investors Bessemer Ventures Partners and Amazon.com. Another $15 million was raised in August 2014 for Series D funding, with investors Digital Garage, Amazon, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Institutional Venture Partners. The total raised at this point was $39.8 million.
On March 4, 2015, Wikia announced its appointment of Walker Jacobs, who was the former Executive Vice-President of Turner Broadcasting System, to the new position of Chief Operating Officer. In December 2015, Wikia launched the Fan Contributor Program.
On January 25, 2016, Wikia launched a new entertainment news site named Fandom. On September 26, 2016, Wikia announced that Wikia.com would be renamed "Fandom powered by Wikia" on October 4, 2016, to better associate themselves with the Fandom website. Wikia, Inc. would remain under its current name. At the time, the homepage of Wikia.com was moved to wikia
On December 4, 2016, Wikia announced the hiring of Dorth Raphaely to be their Chief Content Officer. Previously Dorth Raphaely had worked at Bleacher Report as their General Manager. In mid-2018, following an investment by private equity firm TPG Capital, Craig Palmer was replaced by Andrew Doyle who assumed the role of Interim CEO.
On August 15, 2018, Wikia announced it would fully change its domain name into fandom.com in early 2019. Various Wikis were tested with the new domain during 2018, with Wikia confirming that the process would be completed by February 4, 2019 with the exception of wikis that focused on "more serious topics", which would instead have their domains changed to wikia.org instead of fandom.com. The process was delayed by a few weeks due to issues with Google adverts, but was properly completed on February 22, 2019.
On June 20, 2019, Wikia announced that it will rewrite its core platform in order to use a newer version of MediaWiki software.
Wikia communities consist of online encyclopedias, each one specializing in a particular subject. Although Wikia allows almost anything to be the main focus of a wiki, the most common interest of its users is in popular fiction franchises of films, games, books, and other media, due to the considerable limitation of such detailed information by Wikipedia's notability policies. This contributed to the service being renamed to Fandom.
The main purpose of articles in a Wikia community is to cover information and discussion on a particular topic in a much greater and more comprehensive detail level than what can be found on Wikipedia articles. For example, Spiteful Crow, an enemy character in EarthBound, may have its own article on the EarthBound wikia, whereas the character may not be considered notable enough for a Wikipedia page. Also, the writing style is mostly directed to those familiar with specific vocabulary and terminology rather than to the lay and general public of Wikipedia; the Harry Potter wiki, for example, is written from the perspective of everything in the franchise universe being real, thus the article about the character Ronald Weasley starts describing the subject as "a pure-blood wizard, the sixth and youngest son of Arthur and Molly Weasley" instead of "a character in the Harry Potter series".
Other examples of content that is generally considered beyond the scope of information of Wikipedia articles includes Wikia information about video games and related video game topics, detailed instructions, gameplay details, plot details, and so forth. Gameplay concepts can also have their own articles. Wikia also allows wikis to have a point of view, rather than the neutral POV that is required by Wikipedia (although NPOV is a local policy on many Wikia communities).
Wikis are not owned by their founders, nor does the founder's opinion carry more weight in disagreements than any other user's opinion. Consensus and cooperation should be the primary means for organizing a community. However, Wikia may take decisions affecting the community even if there is no consensus at all.
As of August 2015, Wikia uses a heavily modified version of MediaWiki software, based on the version 1.19 of MediaWiki, which was officially marked as obsolete in May 2015. It has more than 250 extensions installed, most of them created by their staff of developers, to add social features like blogs, chat, badges, forums, and multimedia, but also remove features like advanced user options or skins. The personal choice of using the Monobook skin instead of their default custom skin was removed on May 25, 2018, alluding GDPR compliance.
In August 2016, Wikia announced it would switch to a Service Oriented Architecture. It has also removed many custom extensions and functionality for specific wiki, has created certain features to fill those needs.
Until July 2018, most of Wikia was only available over HTTP, although an upgrade to HTTPS with TLS encryption was planned and under development. Personal data, such as registration and login information, is already served over HTTPS. On July 12, 2018, Wikia switched over to HTTPS.
In 2016, Wikia launched Fandom, an online entertainment media web site. The program utilizes volunteer contributors called "Fandom Contributors" to produce articles, working alongside an editorial team employed by Wikia. In contrast to the blogging feature of individual wiki communities, Fandom focuses on pop culture and fan topics such as video games, movies, and television shows. The project features fan opinion, interviews with property creators, reviews, and how-to guides. Fandom also includes videos and specific news coverage sponsored or paid for by a property creator to promote their property.
In the same year, it was also announced that the entire Wikia platform would be rebranded under the Fandom name on October 4, 2016. A leak from Fandom's Community Council was posted to Reddit's /r/Wikia subreddit on August 12, 2018, confirming that Fandom would be migrating all wikis from the wikia.com domain, to fandom.com in early 2019, as part of a push for greater adoption of Fandom's wiki-specific applications on both iOS and Android's app ecosystems. The post was later deleted.
Wikia has created several official partnerships to create wikis, vetted by the corporation as being the "official" encyclopedia or wiki of a property. In 2014, Wikia partnered with Roddenberry Enterprises to create the Trek Initiative, a Wikia hosted wiki community site that features video interviews, promotions, and other material about Star Trek to celebrate its 50th anniversary. In 2013, Wikia partnered with SOE (now called Daybreak Games) to create official wikis for several of their games such as Free Realms, Planetside 2, and the Everquest franchise. Wikia made similar partnerships with 2K Games during the launch of Civilization: Beyond Earth and Warner Bros Interactive for Shadow of Mordor. Wikia also has partnerships with Lionsgate Media to promote Starz and Film franchises through wiki content, fandom articles, and advertisements.
In January 2009, the company created a question and answer website named "Wikianswers". In March 2010, Wikia re-launched "Answers from Wikia", where users could create topic-specialized knowledge market wikis based upon Wikia's own Wikianswers subdomain.
OpenServing was a short-lived Web publishing project owned by Wikia, founded on December 12, 2006, and abandoned, unannounced, in January 2008. Like Wikia, OpenServing was to offer free wiki hosting, but it would differ in that each wiki's founder would retain any revenue gained from advertising on the site. OpenServing used a modified version of the Wikimedia Foundation's MediaWiki software created by ArmchairGM, but was intended to branch out to other open source packages.
According to Wikia co-founder and chairman Jimmy Wales, the OpenServing site received several thousand applications in January 2007. However, after a year, no sites had been launched under the OpenServing banner.
ArmchairGM was a sports forum and wiki site created by Aaron Wright, Dan Lewis, Robert Lefkowitz and developer David Pean. Launched in early 2006, the site was initially US-based, but sought to improve its links to sports associated with Britain over its first year. Its MediaWiki-based software included a Digg-style article-voting mechanism, blog-like comment forms with "thumbs up/down" user feedback, and the ability to write multiple types of posts (news, opinions, or "locker room" discussion entries).
In late 2006, the site was bought by Wikia for $2 million. After the purchase was made, the former owners applied ArmchairGM's architecture to other Wikia sites. From September 2010 to February 2011, Wikia absorbed the site's encyclopedia articles and blanked all of its old blog entries, effectively discontinuing ArmchairGM in its original form.
Wikia, Inc. initially proposed creating a copyleft search engine; the software (but not the site) was named "Wikiasari" by a November 2004 naming contest.[c] The proposal became inactive in 2005. The "public alpha" of Wikia Search web search engine was launched on January 7, 2008, from the USSHC underground data center. This roll-out version of the search interface was roundly panned by reviewers in technology media. The project was ended in March 2009. Late in 2009, a new search engine was established to index and display results from all sites hosted on Wikia.
Wikia communities have complained of inappropriate advertisements, or advertising in the body text area. There is no easy way for individual communities to switch to conventional paid hosting, as Wikia usually owns the relevant domain names. If a community leaves Wikia for new hosting, the company typically continues to operate the abandoned wiki using its original name and content, adversely affecting the new wiki's search rankings, for advertising revenue.
Wikia has sometimes expanded by acquiring an existing wiki's domain name, user lists, and databases, from a founder or co-founder in return for money and stock options. The original wiki is then shut down without consulting its editors or wider community, and the domain redirected to Wikia's version of the project. In the case of the acquisitions of uncyclopedia.org from Jonathan Huang in July 2006, gamewikis.org from Phil Nelson in October 2007, and memory-alpha.org from Harry Doddema and Dan Carlson in January 2008, the content was under a non-commercial license.
In June 2008, Wikia adopted a new skin, Monaco, intending to implement it as the default on almost all hosted wikis. Many wiki users felt the choice of skin default should remain their own. The switch went ahead, but some wikis retained Monobook as their default. In September 2008, the Transformers Wiki moved content to their own server, citing the format-altering ads and mandatory changes as reasons for their departure. WikiFur moved likewise in August 2009; the Grand Theft Auto wiki moved in October 2010, the Nethack wiki in November 2010, and the Doom wiki in September 2011.
In May 2009, Wikia removed the ability of individual users to choose a skin other than Monaco or Monobook, claiming a testing burden and relative lack of features. Soon after, Wikia removed the option to set the default skin to Monobook, with the exception of certain large wikis, namely, Uncyclopedia. On May 25, 2018, Monobook was removed entirely from Fandom, and all wikis and users using Monobook were forced to switch to Wikia's default Oasis skin, causing disgruntlement from many users in the community. The company cited technical difficulties related to keeping both skins in compliance with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.
Wikia has been accused of unduly profiting from a perceived association with Wikipedia. Although Wikia has been referred to in the media as "the commercial counterpart to the non-profit Wikipedia", Wikimedia and Wikia staff call this description inaccurate.
In 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation shared hosting and bandwidth costs with Wikia, and received some donated office space from Wikia during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. At the end of fiscal year 2007, Wikia owed the Foundation US$6,000. In June 2007, two members of the Foundation's Board of Directors also served as employees, officers, or directors of Wikia. In January 2009, Wikia subleased two conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the Wikipedia Usability Initiative. According to a 2009 email by Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation:
We obtained about a dozen bids...We used averaging as a way to arrive at a fair market rate to neither advantage nor disadvantage Wikia when suggesting a rate. The averaging also resulted in a rate that was roughly equivalent to the most comparable space in the running.
Wikia derives income from advertising. The company initially used Google AdSense, but moved on to Federated Media before bringing ad management in-house. Alongside Wikia's in-house advertising, they continue to use Adsense as well as Amazon Ads and several other third party advertising services. Wikia additionally gains income from various partnerships oriented around various sweepstake sponsorships on related wikis.
Wikia has several other offices. International operations are based in Germany, and Asian operations and sales are conducted in Tokyo. Other sales offices are located in Chicago, Latin America, Los Angeles (marketing programming and content), New York, and London.
Curse was a network of gaming websites. The company is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, and has offices in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Brighton, and Berlin.
Curse initially focused on offering mods for various video games. As it expanded, the company began to develop and acquire gaming communities (particularly focusing on MMORPG titles such as World of Warcraft, as well as other games such as Minecraft), wikis, as well as offering voice chat services. The company also sponsored an eponymous eSports club, which competed primarily in League of Legends.
On August 16, 2016, Curse announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Amazon.com Inc. via its subsidiary Twitch Interactive for an undisclosed amount. On December 12, 2018, Wikia announced that they had acquired Curse's media assets, including its gaming community websites and Gamepedia wiki farm. The remainder of the company (operating as CurseForge) remains under Twitch.D
D (named dee ) is the fourth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.Essjay controversy
The Essjay controversy involved a prominent Wikipedia participant and salaried Wikia employee, known by the username Essjay, who later identified himself as Ryan Jordan. Jordan held trusted volunteer positions within Wikipedia known as "administrator", "bureaucrat", and "arbitrator".Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales (born August 7, 1966) is an American Internet entrepreneur. He is known as a co-founder of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia and the for-profit web hosting company Wikia.Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama, where he attended Randolph School, a university-preparatory school. Later, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in finance from Auburn University and the University of Alabama respectively.While in graduate school, Wales taught at two universities; however, he departed before completing a PhD to take a job in finance and later worked as the Research Director of a Chicago futures and options firm. In 1996, he and two partners founded Bomis, an adult web portal featuring entertainment and adult content. The company would provide the initial funding for the peer-reviewed free encyclopedia, Nupedia (2000–2003), and its successor, Wikipedia.
On January 15, 2001, with Larry Sanger and others, Wales launched Wikipedia—a free, open content encyclopedia that enjoyed rapid growth and popularity; as Wikipedia's public profile grew, he became the project's promoter and spokesman. He is historically cited as a co-founder of Wikipedia, though he has disputed the "co-" designation, declaring himself the sole founder.Wales serves on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the non-profit charitable organization that he helped establish to operate Wikipedia, holding its board-appointed "community founder" seat. His role in creating Wikipedia, which has become the world's largest encyclopedia, prompted Time magazine to name him in their 2006 list of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World".Lostpedia
Lostpedia is a wiki-powered online encyclopedia of information regarding the American television drama Lost. Launched on September 22, 2005 by Kevin Croy, the site uses MediaWiki software to maintain a user-created database of information. The site's content is under a Creative Commons license (by-nc-nd), which means that it is available free to the public, but cannot be used for commercial purposes and should not be modified by people who are not part of the community of the website. Lostpedia is supported by revenue from advertising; the site has not made information regarding financial details public. As of April 2019, the site contains an estimated 7,380 articles. On December 18, 2008 the site became a part of Wikia.LyricWiki
LyricWiki (also known as Lyrically or LyricWikia) was an online wiki-based lyrics database and encyclopedia. In March 2013, it was the seventh largest MediaWiki installation with over 2,000,000 pages including 1.5 million songs. Prior to being locked in 2019, users on the site could view, edit, and discuss the lyrics of songs, which are also available for purchase from links on the site. The site is searchable by song, artist, album, genre, hometown, label, and language. Users are told to be mindful of copyright while contributing, and copyright violations are removed upon request. All the lyrics on LyricWiki are licensed through LyricFind.Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha is a wiki encyclopedia for topics related to the Star Trek fictional universe. Conceived by Harry Doddema and Dan Carlson in September 2003 and officially launched on December 5 of that year, it uses the wiki model and is hosted by Wikia, Inc. on the MediaWiki software. Memory Alpha contains over 43,000 articles and 44,000 images in its English edition alone as of December 2018, making it one of the largest wiki projects. The site is also available in several other languages, including Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Swedish.Uncyclopedia
Uncyclopedia is a website that parodies Wikipedia. Its logo, a hollow "puzzle potato", parodies Wikipedia's globe puzzle logo, and it styles itself "the content-free encyclopedia", parodying Wikipedia's slogan of "the free encyclopedia". Founded in 2005 as an English-language wiki, the project spans over 75 languages as well as several subprojects parodying other wikis. The English version has approximately 30,000 pages of content, second only to the Portuguese.Various styles of humor are used as a vehicle for parody, from pointed satire to light sarcasm, along with structured in-jokes and frequent non-sequiturs. The site has attracted media attention for its articles on controversial subjects including religion, prominent people, places, politics, and pseudoscience.
Many Uncyclopedia articles contain graphics with a link to the corresponding Wikipedia article. A typical caption reads, "For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about [subject in question]."VisualEditor
VisualEditor (VE) is a project to provide a "visual" or "WYSIWYG-like" online rich-text editor as a MediaWiki extension to Wikipedia. It was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation in partnership with Wikia. In July 2013 the beta was enabled by default, with the ability to opt-out, for Mediawiki.org and several of the largest Wikipedias.The Wikimedia Foundation considered it the most challenging technical project to date, while The Economist has called it Wikipedia's most significant change. According to The Daily Dot, Wikimedia Foundation's pursuit of wider participation may risk alienating existing editors. In September 2013, English Wikipedia's VisualEditor was changed from opt-out to opt-in, following user complaints, but was returned to being available by default in October 2015 after further development. A 2015 study by the Wikimedia Foundation found that VisualEditor failed to provide the anticipated benefits for new editors.Wikia Search
Wikia Search was a short-lived free and open-source web search engine launched by Wikia, a for-profit wiki-hosting company founded in late 2004 by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley.Wikia Search followed other experiments by Wikia into search engine technology and officially launched as a "public alpha" on January 7, 2008. The roll-out version of the search interface was widely criticized by reviewers in mainstream media.WoWWiki
WoWWiki is a wiki about the Warcraft fictional universe, and one of the largest wikis about a specific subject. It began as an independent project in 2004, and in 2007 joined Wikia. In late 2010, most of the administrators that were unhappy with Wikia-mandated changes started an independent fork known as Wowpedia.Wookieepedia
Wookieepedia: The Star Wars Wiki is an online encyclopedia for information on the Star Wars universe—including information on all the films, as well as Clone Wars, The Clone Wars and its introductory film, Rebels, the Star Wars expanded universe, and any upcoming Star Wars material. It is a specialized wiki created to be an extensive encyclopedia of the Star Wars universe with some articles reaching up to 60,000 words, and is written almost entirely from an in-universe perspective. The name Wookieepedia is a portmanteau of Wookiee and encyclopedia, a pun on the name of Wikipedia. The logo, too, is a visual pun showing the incomplete second Death Star as opposed to Wikipedia's incomplete "jigsaw logo".
It is a fan-built version of the Holonet, a database maintained by Lucasfilm to track everything in the Star Wars universe and ensure continuity within it.