'MySpace will fail..'

2007-04-20 14:53

Cape Town - Popular social-networking site MySpace will fail in a few years time, says self-confessed geek Jimmy Wales.

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Wales, founder of the free web encyclopaedia Wikipedia, is currently in South Africa for a digital freedom tour.

MySpace, owned by News Corp and with reportedly more than 100 million registered users, "hurts my eyes", Wales says.

"There's way too much advertising and they're not really respecting their own community."

Wikipedia is another matter, he says. "We're not similar at all - you get involved in a community..."

Wales, who confesses to spending lots of time on the web - "I pretty much roll out of bed and log on" - says when he started Wikipedia he knew it was a big idea, but he never imagined it would be in the Top 10 websites.

Wikipedia is reportedly the ninth most popular website in the world.

"I was thinking more in the Top 100."

Wikipedia has been hailed as a revolutionary tool, but it has also raised concerns about errors and accuracy. Wales says there will be some new software features to limit errors, but stresses that where others would respond to errors by locking down, his response is to be even more open.

And how does his family react to his internet celebrity status? "It's fun for them" and normal for his six-year-old daughter, who was born two weeks before the launch of Wikipedia.

Asked if he would be willing to sell to the big guns like Google and Yahoo, he said no, and that he is working on "the next big thing that will hit the internet" instead.

His free, completely open source transparent search engine, will have a "huge degree of human community oversight".

Users can expect to see it towards the end of the year.

And his advice to aspiring online entrepreneurs? "Find something you love and go for it."

"It's good to have a geek hobby that turns into a career."