Wetpaint Gives Web Sites Social Publishing Injection

Wetpaint's embeddable social publishing platform looks to improve search engine optimization and ad sales.

Wetpaint.com, a leading provider of white-label social networks for media companies and others looking to make their sites more personal, has turned its social publishing platform on its ear by letting users to embed it in their Web sites.

Launched May 19, the product comes as the company closed a $25 million funding round from DAG Ventures and existing investors Accel Partners, Trinity Ventures and Frazier Technology Ventures.

Wetpaint Injected was designed on the presumption that all Web sites will eventually become socialized, which is why the company's $40 million in funding after the latest round will come in handy.

Wetpaint will use the funds to push its vision of making every site on the Web "socially published." The company says it believes empowering users with the tools to create content themselves will help businesses boost search results and online ad dollars.

Wetpaint Injected is a basic SSI (Server Side Includes) that places a WYSIWYG editor in a Web site, allowing users to edit and create content such as Web pages. Users can add profiles, news and activity feeds, images, videos, and widgets. They can then edit the content, tag keywords and manage reputations.

Instead of adding content via a widget or IFrame, which negates search engine optimization by blocking search spiders, the software tool puts the user-generated content directly in a site's HTML, allowing search engines to properly index the content.

That gives the user of a Wetpaint consumer site or a company using Wetpaint for its product an expanded search footprint so they can earn more search traffic and therefore ad revenue on the long tail, Kevin Flaherty, vice president of marketing for Wetpaint, told eWEEK.

"We make sure that the content gets credited to the publisher that is hosting Injected," Flaherty said.

Injected is a departure from the current Web socialization paradigm. Today, companies join Facebook or LinkedIn to make connections. Some companies in need of more customized solutions buy blog, wiki and RSS feed tools from vendors and implement them with their existing platforms.

Flaherty counts the company's last major upgrade, the hosted Just Add Wetpaint service, among these white-label solutions. "You don't get additive value across an entire site" with this model, he said.

Accordingly, some companies wouldn't consider Wetpaint tools unless they could embed content directly in an existing site infrastructure. Fox Broadcasting Company, IGN Entertainment, Flixster, NuWire Investor and others are using the new Wetpaint Injected service.

Wetpaint Injected is available now and is free for any one Web site up until 100,000 impressions. Once publishers go beyond 100,000 impressions, Wetpaint charges on a CPM or revenue share basis. In the third quarter, Wetpaint Injected will be available as a set of APIs.

More than 950,000 sites, from sites owned by CBS Broadcasting to mom-and-pop sites for special interests, were created with Wetpaint, making it the largest provider of its kind. The company said it hopes Injected will help it vault over the 1 million site mark.

The software comes as social networking for businesses is heating up. Forrester Research estimates that Enterprise 2.0 tools will blossom to become a $4.6 billion market by 2013.