(Corrects penultimate paragraph to say Wikia is seeking more
partnerships with advertisers, not cutting back)
By Jennifer Saba
April 9 Social networking site Wikia announced
on Wednesday a new effort to attract more brands to its platform
with the creation of Fan Studio.
The idea behind the studio is to help advertisers connect
with Wikia's network of users, many of whom go to the site for
entertainment and games.
As part of the launch, gaming company Carbine Studios is
using Wikia to roll out one of its forthcoming multi-player
online games, called WildStar, for a large number of players.
"One of the things that really struck us the most about
Wikia is it's a social universe for fans by fans," said Mona
Hamilton, vice president of brands at Carbine.
While Carbine Studios has bought advertising on Wikia in the
past, this is the first time it has partnered with the network
to engage with WildStar players to help develop and market the
Founded in 2006 by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Angela
Beesley, a former board trustee of the nonprofit Wikimedia
Foundation, Wikia has more than 100 million monthly unique
global visitors, according to online measurement and advertising
company Quantcast. It has more than 400,000 existing communities
and attracts many video game users.
Wikia is not alone in enticing brands to come and connect
with its community. Facebook, Twitter and
LinkedIn are also trying to court Madison Avenue with
the idea that brands can better target users based on interests.
Jennifer Betka, senior vice president of marketing at Wikia,
said Wikia's fan base is "extremely knowledgeable" about what
"This is the brand acting as a peer," she said. "We go
through an extensive green-lighting process with the brands and
fans and make the decision," she said about the vetting process
for Fan Studio, because Wikia must balance the needs of the
community without alienating members.
Wikia depends on advertising revenue but does not disclose
Wikia has partnered with other advertisers in the past and
is doing more now that it has unveiled Fan Studio.
In December it struck a deal with Warner Brother's video
game division, which tapped Wikia's community for online games
based on the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit."
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Prudence