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Wetpaint Raises $25 Million and Launches Wetpaint Injected
Two big stories this evening coming out of Seattle, both with regards to Wiki social publishing provider Wetpaint. They have raised $25 million in Series C funding. This brings the total amount raised by Wetpaint to approximately $40 million. DAG Ventures co-led the round with another financial investor, and existing investors Accel Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Frazier Technology Ventures all participated. The company notes that they will use the additional funds to, "accelerate the adoption of its leading social publishing platform and execute on its vision of making every site on the Web socially published with users empowered to create, collect, and organize content together."
I spoke with Wetpaint CEO Ben Elowitz who shares some statistics about the current usage of Wetpaint. There are 925,000 sites in the Wetpaint network, mostly in the entertainment, music, tv, and gaming categories. They have "lots" of large corporate partners and over 2,000 new sites are created every day. Over 500,000,000 (1/2 billion) words are housed inside of the wikis on Wetpaint. Check out my interview with Elowitz from late 2007.
The other announcement is the launch of "Wetpaint Injected". This is the service that was tipped to Techcrunch under the name Project Balco last month. Initial launch partners are Flixster, IGN and NewWire.
Here’s the easy description of Wetpaint Injected: it’s a way to add a wiki to any site in minutes that allows your site visitors to add content to a site instantly. The content is search engine friendly (i.e. it’s not a basic script code) and uses a full editor to make it very easy for users to add, edit and update content within the wiki area.
I’ve included a screenshot below of the implementation on Flixster, one of the initial launch partners. The tool is easy-to-use and will certainly be popular on Web sites that are content-based. It’s a great way to pump up available content and available search engine friendly content.
With all of the talk about data portability these days, I asked Elowitz about the topic regarding Wetpaint Injected. He noted that the content is the site owners and can be "taken" at any time if the owner so chooses.
The design of the wiki area is completely customizable using CSS and there is a RESTful API for expansion. The basic code requires a script code in the page header and a basic include within the page.
I’ve embedded the pricing model below. For basic sites, Wetpaint Injected is free, then the standard revshare/buyout model is available. Wetpaint is also offering a variety of addons as listed in the diagram below.
I think the idea is very strong overall. I have a few concerns:
- there’s no branding for Wetpaint – I get that it’s based on the business model above but in the free version shouldn’t we see some branding?
- the name is a huge mistake – when I think of injected, I think of spam, viruses and web server attacks. They need a friendly name to go with their friendly product and "injected" certainly isn’t that.
- it’s perfect for content Web sites, but for blogs – what’s the reason to use this? It is post based, not site based and isn’t it really just a comment replacement? Since it’s post based, it loses it’s power on a blog. If a blog has two posts about Google, it’d be great to share the injected wiki across both.
- spam – the spammers will absolutely LOVE this – Elowitz did say they are working on some spam prevention tools and I also asked him to check on whether links inside the injected wiki use the nofollow attribute.
At the end of the day, this tool should help Wetpaint continue to grow and could prove beneficial to get Wetpaint on sites it normally would have no chance of getting into. It’s a smart move, both on the marketing/branding side and the business side.