Are normal people finally starting to warm to wikis as publishing tools? Wikia, which hosts 50,000 enthusiast sites on the same wiki software as Wikipedia, is claiming profitability of sorts on strong growth. Over the past six months, Wikia sites (which also includes Wikianswers) have increased unique visitors 76 percent in the U.S. to 6.5 million in July, 14.2 million worldwide (comScore).
The orange line in the chart above is just Wikia.com, which had 5.9 million visitors in July, and the blue line is all Wikia sites combined. The company deadpooled its Wikia Search product last March.
By organizing each wiki into a niche communities of gamers, sports fans, movie buffs, and so forth, Wikia has been able to sell more targeted advertising into each niche. With the recent growth, Wikia now claims to be profitable—not ina strict GAAP-accounting sense, but in that revenues from ad sales are “significantly higher than the cost of operations in total,” says Wikia CEO Gil Penchina.
Wikis need a critical mass of repeat contributors before they become useful. So far, Wikia’s growth has been a slow burn, and certainly pales in comparison with the original Wikipedia. But if the growth of the last six months continue, it may just now be coming into its own.