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Wikia lays off staff, Wikimedia hires

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Jimmy Wales has been in the news a lot this year. There was the breakup e-mail from his ex-girlfriend, circulated ‘round the Internet. The allegations that he wrote glowing entries on Wikipedia for companies that donated to the organization. And now, Valleywag reports that Wikia, the for-profit company Wales founded to be a more in-depth Wikipedia, with ads, has laid off a chunk of its staff.

While Valleywag puts the number at 30%, a statement from Wikia says that ‘as part of a reorganization, Wikia recently let go less than 10% of its salaried employees and is actively hiring in sales and marketing. Details on the open positions can be found at www.wikia.com.’ The site’s hiring page lists vacancies for a marketing manager, advertising sales representatives and a gaming intern.

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Under the section Why Work for Wikia?, the site’s post recalls the earlier days of Internet exuberance. It says ‘FUN! -- We work hard and play hard! ‘Crazy Shirt Day’ or ‘Flashback Fridays’ anyone? Xbox 360 and Wii games in the lounge room... or maybe take a ride in the massage chair!’

It’s unclear what problems Wikia encountered, although it hasn’t received funding since December of 2006. It’s a little ironic, since Wales talked to The Times earlier this year about the difficulties of working for a nonprofit organization like Wikipedia. He said:

One of the basic problems is funding: We can get enough money to survive but don’t really have the funding to push forward or innovate.

Meanwhile, the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, is hiring. Maybe laid-off Wikians who aren’t playing Wii in the lounge room can apply there?

-- Alana Semuels


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