More news from Le Web 3 today in Paris. This time is was Gil Penchina, CEO of Wikia, announcing that they'd (1) purchased super active social media site ArmChairGM.com, and (2) have released the foundational software that ArmChairGM runs on as a free Wiki and Social Media platform. The free service is being offered through a dedicated Wikia site called www.openserving.com. In his talk today Gil didn't claim to have a business plan, but rather to be operating under the assumption that if they (the jabbering and photo snapping masses) share, one will come.According to Gil, opening up the OpenServing platform to the world for free is just an extension of the Open Source Software (OSS) philosophy and normal course of action.
In today's talk, entitled "Is Open Source Turning Commercial?" Gil explained that the service will be free, the hosting will be free, the software will be free, and if participants choose to run ads on their sites, they will be under no obligation what so ever to share the revenue with OpenServing.
You might be wondering -- as no doubt several in the room were -- where the business model is.
The Gil professed to have no better idea than anyone, saying they'd figure that one out later. Perhaps that's the case, but Wikia -- a commercial venture founded by Jim Wales, the bright light behind Wikipedia -- is certainly out to make some coin. Wikia offers free MediaWiki hosting and is currently advertising supported.
In an interview with TechCrunch's Natali Del Conte this afternoon, Jim was a touch more forthcoming with revenue model details.
To quote, “The main thing we’re looking for is that [OpenServing users] drive traffic back to Wikia but we’re not just thinking of any link back to the home page, but a content-relevant link,” Wales said. “We’re not just asking for an advertisement but a link for articles and things that are relevant on our wikis.”
If we read that right, "content-relevant links" to somewhere other than the homepage would translate into OpenServing being a potentially massive SEO link farm, driving rank and traffic into the ad-supported Wikipia sites and pages.
Interesting. We're due to have a chat with Gil sometime before he jumps back out to Charles de Gaulle. So stay tuned here for a bit more on the latest monetization strategies of the Web 2.0 world.