In early 2007, a young man called Ian Rispin was in the midst of a difficult divorce; it became apparent to Ian that there was a tremendous opportunity to improve the availability of information, advice and services to people facing divorce. Launched in March 2007, Wikivorce started life as a rather basic site, with a few main features, such as the forum, blogging area, divorce guide and the then unique Divorce Calculator.
Wikivorce has grown significantly in 7 short years. In the early days it wasn''t unusual to find only a few members online at peak times, or to be able to read a whole days’ worth of posts in a short space of time. The sense of community is something that was very apparent even back then – probably as we were such a small community, and knew each other’s back-story almost as well as our own. Ian (Wikivorce founder and MD) tells a wonderful story of how he, back in those very early days, would spend all night populating the fledgling forum with questions using different usernames, and then he himself would reply to them using his own username (Wikivorce Team).
As the word spread, Wikivorce grew bigger and bigger in terms of membership, and the site underwent some very radical changes in terms of inter-facing and layout. At the bottom of this blog, I''ve added a link so you can see how much the site has changed in terms of look and lay-out. A new library was added, (please do use the library, it’s full of lots and lots of useful information), Wikizine (our online magazine, now edited by the lovely White Rose)was launched, the first official Wikivorce social event was held (dubbed Wikistock) and our forums and blogs saw a massive increase in daily use. We launched our fixed-price services, and about 3 years ago, our very busy helpline was born. We have partnerships with significant organisations and work closely with them. We gained press coverage, members views were sought on a number of differing divorce-related issues, and opening up a newspaper or magazine and seeing the word “Wikivorce” is something to be proud of.
Some Wiki facts and figures:
* - We now have about 110,000 registered members
* - Wikivorce has over 250,000 pages of information on divorce fully indexed by Google - compared to 20 or 30 pages for the average solicitor website
* - Our website is the most visited divorce site in the UK with over 3000 visitors a day. One new person discovers our website every minute.
* - Wikivorce is a leading example of social networking with a purpose - we don''t just connect people - we empower people to pick themselves up, define their goals and rebuild new lives.
* - Between Dukey, Fiona and LMM (our top three posters), they have clocked up a staggering 31,421 posts - most of which are replies to members'' questions
* - Our name was inspired by an admiration for Wikipedia and their strategy of empowering individual volunteers to work together to create the world''s leading free encyclopedia.
Wikivorce continues to grow, not just in terms of membership numbers, or the facilities that Ian and the team work very hard on to provide members with all the information and resources you will need, but in terms of our visibility in the wider world. Ian and I have both attended meetings at the Ministry of Justice , and we have both met some very influential people, all of whom were not just aware of Wiki, but also very complimentary about the work we do, and the benefits our members have. To hear such praise for our site, for the contributions our members make was wonderful.
What makes Wikivorce unique is that we have an all-inclusive membership – not just those facing divorce, but professionals and long-term contributors (who’s input is hugely valued), family members affected by someone else’s divorce, and adult children of divorce, to name just a few. This provides balance and a wide range of personal experiences and ultimately better advice and support for our members. But this isn''t possible without the input of members, like you. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true – Wikivorce wouldn''t be what it is without the generosity of its members. I am immensely proud to be a member of this community, and intend to remain a part of it for a long time yet (sorry, but you are stuck with me).
So what do the forthcoming years hold for Wikivorce? It’s my view that we will always be a work in progress, that there will always be a new dimension we can add to Wikivorce so that our members have the best possible access to information, advice and support to enable them to make informed decisions, are able to gain the confidence and knowledge required to represent themselves, and of course, to remove that social isolation that divorce and family break-up brings. In short - to infinity and beyond. The best is yet to come
I had no idea ...........talk about turning a negative into one huge mother load of a positive.
Thank you to Wikivorce, I am so grateful to all of you, what you are all doing is an invaluable service. I honestly feel I would have had some sort of break down when all the cheese had been eaten, then I found Wikivorce.
No matter what happens with my divorce, I will forever be grateful for this site.
I joined in May 2007 and whilst my divorcing days are behind me, I made some good friends and received some good advice. I look back on those early days with fondness, although it was a sad time, wiki and its members helped.
I look in now and again to see how Wiki is doing and I have enjoyed seeing it go from strength to strength. If I come across anyone getting divorced I always recommend the site.