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Jimmy Wales Quietly Launches Wikianswers

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Here’s a question for you. How many Q&A sites does the Web really need? Already, there is Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers, Mahalo Answers, Linkedin Answers, ChaCha and dozens beyond. But Wikia (and Wikipedia) co-founder Jimmy Wales thinks there is room for one more.

We learned from a tip that he has quietly launched Wikianswers, a Question & Answer site that attempts to create one true, consensus answer for each question, wiki-style. If this sounds familiar it is because Wiki Answers, which is part of Answers.com, does the exact same thing and had 26.7 million unique visitors worldwide in December (comScore). (Yahoo Answers had 144.7 million worldwide uniques in December).

And then there is the little problem of the name. It is supposed to be Wikia Answers! (see second screenshot below), but in the current logo the last “a” of Wikia shares the first “a” of Answers, making it Wikianswers. The already established WikiAnswers might have a problem with that. (The URLs are different: http://answers.wikia.com and http://wiki.answers.com/, respectively)

Update: Wikia Gil Penchina responds in comments:

Wikianswers started at Wikia in November, 2004. The other site with the same name was called FAQFarm back then and changed their name without getting our permission.

Wikianswers is built on the same wiki platform offered by Wikia, and it is already being promoted from Wikia Search. Building up a searchable Q&A repository is a natural add-on for a search engine or any online information database. (See our post on Mahalo Answers).

But, really, How is Wikianswers different than any other Answers site? Unless Wales can satisfy that question, people will ask look for answers to their own questions elsewhere.

Update: Wikia CEO Penchina’s explains below in comments:

Wikia’s Q+A service is in keeping with the wiki-way and that’s what makes it different
– The content is freely licensed under GFDL unlike other answers sites allowing it to be re-used and re-purposed by others for free
– Anyone can contribute (other answers sites require you to register)

We believe that a more open, freely licensed community will always do better than a corporate site that takes customers contributions and copyrights them in order to take rights away from the contributor.

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