Birch-backed Wordia starts roping in celebs, but will it make money?

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On the apparent Apple suicide

Wordia, the site that pairs HarperCollins’ dictionary with user-generated videos, has gone on a high-quality content offensive. Celebrities, experts, authors and members of the public are being invited to provide definitions around a particular theme or campaign for Wordia’s new “Word Weeks”. This week it’s social enterprise.

Word Weeks launched with a “Refugee Week” from the Guardian, but the content has upped the pace since: the Independent and NESTA’s Reboot Britain and Words of Henry VIII are particular highlights. Celebrities on board so far include Greg Rusedki (defining “positivity”) and an even-more-alarmingly-dressed-than-usual Howard Rheingold (on “swarm”). They even got the Archbishop of Canterbury to contribute.

I don’t really understand Wordia’s revenue model, and I share the concern that user-generated definitions of words could be of poor quality – or just plain wrong – but the site’s a lot of fun. It launched in 2008, and they’ve clocked up  a whopping 120,000 definitions of some 76,000 words in that time. Michael Birch invested in it in December of last year, calling it “Dictionary.com meets Youtube meets Wikipedia” (here’s a typically dry Birch defining “nascent”), so maybe I’m missing something.

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