Wetpaint improves wiki site analysis

Wetpaint, a company that hosts wiki sites, will let customers use Google's free analytics tools.

Wetpaint.com, a Seattle startup, is making it easier for anyone using its free wiki service to better track use of their sites.

Wetpaint lets anyone create a Web site for free that can be altered by anyone. While the company started out by attracting consumers with an easy-to-use service, some large US corporations such as CBS, T-Mobile USA and Food & Wine magazine now offer their customers wiki sites from Wetpaint.

Within the next couple of days, Wetpaint will begin to let users track activity on their sites using Google Analytics. The free Google tool allows site owners to track where visitors come from in the world, how many people visit the site and how visitors reach the site, including directly and from search engines.

Wetpaint is also working with Google so that in the future its customers can use Google Webmaster Central, a set of free services from Google that lets webmasters analyze the way Google's search engine regards their Web site and learn ways to improve the site's search ranking. For now, Google only allows a limited number of users per domain. Because Wetpoint customer sites all use the Wetpaint domain, they can't all use Google Webmaster.

The Google Analytics support will be attractive mainly to Wetpaint consumer users, said Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint. "We found that when someone starts a site about something they care about, like dogs, they love the feeling they get when someone else joins," he said. Google Analytics will let them track site traffic.

Currently, Wetpaint has more than 400,000 sites. Customers go through a simple setup process, choosing their homepage name and, if they want, setting different levels of editing rights for different users. Once the site goes live, anyone can visit and easily add or change the content on the site.

Corporate customers choose Wetpaint because it means they can launch their new sites very quickly, sometimes in a matter of days, Elowitz said. In addition, they're attracted by how easy it is for consumers to use Wetpaint, he said.

Examples of Wetpaint sites offered by large companies include CBS's CSI site, T-Mobile's Sidekick site and Food & Wine magazine's wiki site.

Wetpaint earns revenue from advertisements that run on the Web sites. With corporate customers, Wetpaint shares that revenue.

Wetpaint argues that using a wiki, which lets anyone edit Web sites, is a better idea than a blog. A blog allows one person to get their voice heard but isn't ideal for collaboration, Elowitz said. "It just brings a megaphone to one person's voice," he said.

JotSpot, another company that hosts wiki sites, was recently acquired by Google. It currently isn't accepting new users.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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