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March 7, 2006 / jnolen

Wikispheres launches as Wetpaint

When last we heard from Wikisphere, they had just raised $5.25mm but continued to develop in almost-stealth mode. Ross said they were going to be consumer focused. Jeffrey had heard that it was going to be industry-focused.

Well, today they pulled the curtain back on their newly branded service, Wetpaint. (Link via SiliconBeat.) I do like the name and the logo: I think the metaphor works pretty well.

It's a hosted-community site offering the basic wiki features in a customizable skin. Wetpaint makes the bold move of offering only wysiwyg editing — no markup-mode at all. There's a strange little floating editor box with controls in it and a typical javascripty content area. Of course, this choice means that Safari users can't edit at all.

The business model is apparently contextual advertising. They currently have eleven employees and are apparently hiring like mad.

This is a pretty crowded market already. But Wetpaint has raised enough money to outspend the other community-focused hosts and to be competitive with the enterprise-focused hosts. The real question is whether or not there are enough consumer-level users to make this business model work.

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