Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 11:34 UK

Wikipedia founder abandons search

Screen grab of Wikia Search
Wikia Search simply did not attract enough users

Wikia Search, a project created by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales with the aim of creating a community-led search engine, has been ditched.

He announced the decision to "close the doors" on the project in a blog post.

Wikia Search "has not been enjoying the kind of success that we hoped for," said Mr Wales.

He blamed the recession for his decision to withdraw funding but promised to continue as a "cheerleader" for alternatives to Google.

"I personally believe in the opportunity for free software to make serious inroads into the search space. In a different economy we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely," he said.

No profit

Instead he will refocus efforts on social network Wikia, which, in common with all Wiki projects, has a community-driven content approach.

According to internet measurement firm Nieslen, Wikia is now the fifth faster growing online community in the US.

Wikia Search was first announced in 2006 and went live last year.

As with the Wikipedia encyclopaedia which brought Mr Wales to prominence, the emphasis for Wikia Search was on user-contributed content. It let anyone rate and filter its search results.

In an interview with the BBC when the site went live Mr Wales promised it would be "completely controlled by the community of users".

Unlike Wikipedia, Wikia Search was always intended to be a profit making business, with money coming from advertising.

In his interview with the BBC Mr Wales played up the role of users as editors but said there were no plans to allow them to claim a share in the revenue.

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