Wetpaint Adds Premium Features to Drop the Ads

Wetpaint has helped define the wiki for the new era, and a number of feature upgrades reflect the company’s ongoing dedication to media integration in order to offer a comprehensive and customizable environment for collaborators. Some of the new features include video galleries and enhanced discussion forums. These two upgrades are specifically designed to address the two most popular aspects of Wetpaint’s site–viewing videos and discussing topics of interest within Wetpaint. I can honestly say that I’m not surprised to hear this. Of all the Wetpaint communities I’ve joined, the ones with frequent video updates are the ones for which I recieve the most email alerts.

In adding video galleries, the ability to collect and organize videos is a supported feature for Wetpaint users. This not only minimizes the steps needed to find and embed a YouTube video on Wetpaint, but it builds out the capabilities of follow-up and return behavior for continued interaction with a given video. For promotional purposes, the best videos are “bubbled up” within a Wetpaint community, with related videos now displaying, as well as the option for making a particular video featured.

Improvements made to the discussion forums offer more control for individuals’ posts, with options to feature, lock and edit. This helps keep conversations on topic and in all gives more options to end users, relating to the overall direction of their own content and its context within a Wetpaint community. Additional control options are offered for Wetpaint page layouts, and new content modules. And Wetpaint communities’ shareability has also been extended, with new Wetpaint droplets, which offer the latest site contributions via embeddable widgets that can be shared on other social networking profiles and websites.

Also important to note is Wetpaint’s new premium upgrades. While Wetpaint launched enterprise options for media brands like FOX and HBO, the new premium upgrades are now being offered to private groups, small businesses and non-profits in need of an ad-free site. This will cost $19.95 per month, which seems to be a reasonable price point. Wetpaint has also indicated that more premium options will be layered in over the next few months.

I wondered if this move to add more premium options to a wider array of users had anything to do with the current economic climate. With ad revenue decreasing, competitors deadpooling and a larger acceptance of charging for services, perhaps the time was right for Wetpaint to charge for its services.

Wetpaint CEO Ben Elowitz responded by saying that the company had been testing premium features for some time, stating that “This move has more to do with being responsive to the needs of the community than anything else.” Nevertheless, the need for socially-oriented web services to diversify revenue opportunities is nothing short of smart and expected, so I’m interested in seeing future developments in the coming months for Wetpaint.