How brands can engage with their audience

Bambi Francisco Roizen · May 4, 2009 · Short URL:

Charlene Li helps us evaluate Wetpaint, a Wiki service for over one million sites

In this week's Vator Box, Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group and social networking guru, helps to analyze the opportunities for Wetpaint, a site that powers about 1.3 million free wiki Web sites, and has nearly 800 followers on Vator. The Seattle-based startup, which raised $40 million in venture funding, was founded by Ben Elowitz  Li joined Ezra Roizen (Vator Box regular and digital media investment banker) and Bambi Francisco.

Here are their observations and advice.

- Elowitz delivers a very good pitch, covering everything from the company's origins, metrics, capital raised and value proposition. The pitch packs a lot in, though Ben could have given an example of one customer and how they use the service. 

- When Wetpaint started four years ago, it was novel. The fact that Wetpaint started in 2005 and had the foresight that people are going to want to have their own little communities and collaborate together was pretty prescient. But now the company seems to be competing with a lot of other services that are either wiki in nature, or are alternative approaches for brands to reach their fans. 

- Wetpaint appears to be doing well with its large media customers. Brands are hanging Wetpaint right off the homepage, said Li, who pointed out that Discovery Channel, and its show, Deadliest Catch, is a great example of how brands are promoting their communities, which run on Wetpaint's platform. Discovery's Wetpaint-supported community site is very well populated and has a very enthusiastic fan base.  

- While marketers are starting to use services such as Buddy Media, to integrate their brands into the existing social networks, they should also be using Wetpaint to create their own stand-alone destination communities via Wetpaint.

- Wetpaint raised $40 million dollars so it has a significant hurdle to get over if it wants to deliver a return to its investors. Pluck, a provider of social media tools to publishers, was bought for about $70 million in 2008. And that was well before the economic meltdown and the advertising recession hit media companies.


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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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What is Wetpaint?
Wetpaint powers free fan-powered websites that are available to anyone and easy to use. In fact, that’s one of the many things that sets Wetpaint apart from other sites on the web. Creating a Wetpaint site is as simple as 1-2-3, so anyone can start a free website they can then share with their family, friends, and the friends they haven’t even met...yet

Starting is Easy
Start by choosing what topic you want your site to be about, then pick from a variety of site styles, whether you want your site to be public or private, and who you want to contribute (everyone, or just a few friends?).

Building is a Snap
Once your site is launched, adding content is easy with the EasyEdit Toolbar. You’ll see that editing a Wetpaint page works very much like a word processor: You can “click” on any open page and start typing. Even better, you can also add photos, YouTube videos, polls . . . it’s all as simple as “click and type.”

Join in the Fun
Not ready to start your own Wetpaint site? No worries...visit and search for a Wetpaint community that’s right for you. (We’re pretty sure there’s something for out there for you; people just like you have started more than 1.5 million Wetpaint sites.) Join the site and add your two cents to the conversation.


Ezra Roizen

Joined Vator on

Advisor-to and commenter-on emerging ventures

Charlene Li

Joined Vator on

Helping leaders thrive with disruption as a Principal Analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet Company