Wetpaint Launches: Wikis Evolve

Seattle based Wetpaint has been in private beta since March. On Sunday night they launched to the world, allowing anyone to create a free wiki on any topic.

A good example wiki is this one around the XBOX 360. Like pbwiki, Wikia and JotSpot, Wetpaint is a hosted wiki solution with wysiwyg editing (no need to use wiki code or html). Each wiki (and each page on a wiki) is taggable, and Wetpaint includes higher end wiki functions like page lockdown, privacy, etc.

I created a wiki in about a minute and like the choice of templates. Wetpaint isn’t a fully customizable wiki, and you can’t run it on your own servers, but it is the best hosted wiki I’ve seen so far. Wetpaint is free, although all pages have contextual advertising included on them.

A lot of venture money is flowing into wiki products. Wetpaint raised just over $5 million in October 2005 from Trinity Ventures and Frazier Technology Ventures. The competition is well funded, too. JotSpot raised $5.2 million from Mayfield and Redpoint Ventures. Wikia has $4 million from Bessemer and Omidyar Network. And while pbwiki hasn’t raised outside financing, it does have a distribution deal with Yahoo that drives significant new users to the site.

Wetpaint is a little different than each of these. They are targeting the mass-edited wiki pages like Wikia, as well as smaller private and group wikis (think company project sites, intranets, social club sites, etc.). The service is incredibly easy to use (Jotspot comes close, but isn’t as mass-user friendly) – and it may bring a much larger audience to wikis than are currently comfortable using them.