Why Fan History won’t be moving to Wikia any time soon
I’ve written several variations of this post with varying tones and purposes. Some of these drafts have gone in to several pages. I’m posting this rather simply because in the end, it really is simple.
I’d like to preface this with I have nothing but respect for Wikia. They have done some fantastic things for the wider wiki community. They’ve released several extensions that have been useful to the Mediawiki community. Wikia has sponsored several wiki conferences. Their community is helpful in terms of learning how to handle different situations in the wiki community. They host a lot of unique content that cannot be found elsewhere. They’ve helped expand the definition of what wikis are capable of doing.
But Fan History will not be moving to Wikia any time soon because Wikia wants to own Fan History. We would have to change our license, remove our business plan, give up control of the community, could not leave, would have to give Wikia our domains, etc. When Wikia has approached Fan History LLC about acquiring it, Wikia has generally used the approach of treating the acquiring of Fan History like it should be a hosting decision for Fan History LLC and downplayed the ownership issues. While we love Wikia and some of the things that Wikia has done for the wider wiki community, we do not appreciate their approach in this regard.
Fan History is a business. We are incorporated as a single entity LLC. We have a business plan. We have an intern and are currently looking for more. We have been seeking funding to grow the wiki, improve our back end, integrate and improve FanworksFinder, create related products. We have hired developers to do work for us. We attend professional networking events. We try to keep our actions on the wiki professional and businesslike, rather than purely fannish and hobby like.
If Wikia were to acquire Fan History, it would be great for their business. Fan History Wiki would take Wikia from about 3.2 million pages to 4 million pages. Fan History has the potential to create an organizational structure for Wikia’s entertainment and sports wikis. Fan History is set up to easily promote Wikia’s other content inside of our own. We have a large amount of content that could have its SEO optimized quickly, with the right team, that would significantly improve its current traffic. Fan History has a number of articles in content areas that advertisers would be happy to have ads placed on. Many of these content pages are for areas where Fan History LLC has little competition in terms of potential audience. Long and short, Fan History has a lot going for it that would really, really help Wikia on several levels. We would be cheap to host, cheap to maintain, would require little staff involvement as there is an active and dedicated admin staff. We’re aware of out potential monetary and PR value to Wikia. All of this could help Wikia’s bottom line.
Fan History is a business. We identify as a business. We are registered with the state of Illinois as a business. We do not feel that Wikia has approached us, in their talks about hosting (acquiring) us, as a business acquisition. Their representatives have minimized our real business concerns as not important, or that they are irrelevant to Wikia acquiring us. (Even as these things are central to our business plan, and to our identity in the community which we operate.) They want to us to utilize their free hosting, putting us in a situation where we can help their bottom line. They want us to hand over our business to them, for free. If they want to acquire us, they need to treat us as a business and make a serious acquisition offer. Any other approach is an insult.