Amazon takes major stake in Wikia

wikialogo.bmpWikia, a San Mateo company that allows groups to share information about their interests with wiki technology, has raised a second round of funding — all of it coming from Amazon.com.

It is not clear how much traction Wikia company has gained. The company says more than two thousand wiki sites have been created on its platform, edited by 30,00 registered users. Wikia wants to users do everything outside of Wikipedia’s collaborative encyclopedia process.

amazonlogo.bmpIt enables “groups to share information, news, stories, media and opinions.” Wikis are useful, because they let fans — Nascar fans, for example — find information and express themselves. But they are tricky to manage, and Wikia’s format isn’t exactly elegant. Wikia was founded by Jimmy Wales, the founder Wikipedia, which is one of the rare wiki success stories so far. Part of Wikia’s round (amount undisclosed) includes the purchase of the sports community site, ArmchairGM for more than $2 million, underscoring how Wikia is having to reach out to acquire talent and technology. Wikia says it will use the ArmChairGM technology to help it incorporate user-generated news and voting into future Wikia fan sites. With Amazon behind it, Wikia could presumably be used to form wikis around various Amazon product lines. Wikia says it will look for more acquisitions.

ArmchairGM’s four founders, Dan Lewis, Aaron Wright, David Pean, and Rob Lefkowitz, will join Wikia as full time employees and will continue to run ArmchairGM independently.

Last year, Bessemer Venture Partners led a $4 million investment in the company, joined by Omidyar Network, Marc Andreessen, Dan Gillmor, Reid Hoffman, Josh Kopelman, Joichi Ito and Mitch Kapor.