Wikia founder Jimmy Wales believes in “free content for all.” That is why the company launched OpenServing today, a service that is giving away complete Web hosting support to any wiki developer – for free!
OpenServing allows anyone to setup and maintain their own collaborative site. Wales told TechCrunch in a phone call today that OpenServing is also intended to go beyond wiki hosting to include free software, free applications, etc. “Basically, anything goes into the model of free culture,” he said.
Wikia will provide free software, bandwidth, storage, computing power, and content over the Internet. What’s more, Wikia will give away 100 percent of the ad inventory and revenue to any blogger/Web site owner who wants to sign-up for this. The only stipulation is that developers link to Wikia’s home site in order to drive ad revenue.
“The main thing we’re looking for is that they drive traffic back to Wikia but we’re not just thinking of any link back to the home page, but a content-relevant link,” Wales said. “We’re not just asking for an advertisement but a link for articles and things that are relevant on our wikis.”
If sites that use OpenService sell ads on their wiki, they are not responsible to share that revenue with Wikia.
“Basically they’re free to sell ads on their own site,” Wales explained. “We may at one point offer a service to broker those ads but that’s not our model right now. Our model is basically to say ‘You keep the ad revenue, we’re not really worried about that.’”
This announcement solves at least some of the mystery behind Wikia’s purchase of ArmchairGM earlier this month. ArmchairGM is the first freely-licensed software package that OpenServing will offer up. It is also noteworthy that Wikia received an undisclosed amount of funding from Amazon just weeks ago, which is likely an important contributing factor to Wikia’s ability to do this.