Seattle's Wetpaint is getting a fresh coat.
The consumer wiki company is trying a new tack, offering its social computing platform to businesses so they can turn around and offer it to their consumers.
The new hosted service, Just Add Wetpaint, will be launched Dec. 10 to help companies let their consumers connect via wikis, blogs and forums on a branded social network.
"We started off focusing just on the consumer and what we found out is that brands want to get in on it, too," Wetpaint CEO Ben Elowitz told eWEEK.
Just Add Wetpaint is an example of how Web 2.0 technologies are making the crossover from consumer-oriented tools to platforms that can help business engage more consumers, and ultimately, derive more revenues via advertising or e-commerce.
This is most evident in social networks, where users gather to share content, opinions and generally "hang out" online.
CBS, Dell and Oracle are among the companies that participated in the Just Add Wetpaint pilot program in the last year.
Elowitz said CBS created a Wetpaint-powered wiki site for every prime-time show they had to counter the fan sites that were popping up all over the Internet. These sites, he said, detracted from CBS' luster.
With Just Add Wetpaint, CBS "turned over the keys to the kingdom," or enabled its fans to use the Wetpaint wiki to cultivate new communities, he said.
This helped CBS corral tons of new users who otherwise would be searching for information on other sites, increasing page views and ad-related revenues, Elowitz said.
To read more about Google's wiki getting whacked, click here.
Gilbane Group analyst Geoff Bock said Wetpaint's service should help companies build their brand and reinforce their fan base, noting that consumer companies only succeed in today's digital economy by providing customers with good information and products and services they want.
Just Add Wetpaint features the entire Wetpaint social computing platform, including wiki and discussion forum functionality, as well as tagging, commenting, social profiles, private messaging, newsletters, and one-click widget insertion for pictures, video, polls, chat and Flash applications.
Businesses can customize their wiki environments so that they might adequately reflect their brands. Moreover, Wetpaint seeds editorial content on the site to encourage participation and increase traffic to the partner's Web site.
As part of the service, Wetpaint works with each client to develop custom promotions to that drive membership.
The Just Add Wetpaint service is available immediately, starting at $10,000 for implementation, although this varies based on the degree of customization required. Customers split revenue derived from the wiki platform with Wetpaint on a 50-50 basis, or pay a fixed fee based on monthly page views.
Customers can also buy a monitoring service from Wetpaint for $3,000 per month to stave off inappropriate content.
Wetpaint's offering is unique among fellow wiki providers such as MediaWiki, Wikipedia and more enterprise-focused wikis such as Socialtext and Atlassian Software.
However, HiveLive is offering a full social computing platform for users in the CRM (customer relationship management) market.
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