Monday, 14 December 2009

Wetpaint to damp squib

a typical page with ads top, bottom and side

I started out this year as something of an evangelist when it comes to Wetpaint wikis. I have used them in my teaching in various ways and even adapted one as a website/induction module for new distance learning students. I have recommended them to academic colleagues and supported others in setting up a wiki for research and collaboration.

I have to say though that I am bitterly disappointed by Wetpaint's decision to end the removal of ads (for free) on educational sites.

I can understand that this may not have been a particularly attractive busness model and I realise that we shouldn't perhaps expect much for free nowadays, but it isn't just that ads are back - its the nature of them. The billboard style, flashing/animated banners advertising vampire films across the top, snap link ads at the bottom, google ads up the side.... I mean, come on guys! This is way over the top.

On a related note, though, I wonder whether I will continue to have a use for wikis.

I am currently preferring Googledocs for document sharing and Huddle looks potentially even more powerful and attractive with its links to discussions and clear version control/approval mechanisms. The fact that Huddle now comes embedded in Ning has made that platform a better option for communities, collaboration & learning groups (yes, I know - it also has ads: but they are fairly discreet compared to Wetpaint).

I have hopes for Googlewave as a collaborative tool too, though currently it is hard to find committed wavers willing to join in the experiment: I wonder what this will look like in twelve months time?

If I have learned one thing in 2009, it is that web 2.0 media come and go, they transmute and they transform the world around them. And for 2010 - well I think I know better than to attempt any predictions....I am pretty sure I will be using some new tools and letting go of others.


  1. Hi Jane
    It is annoying that Wetpaint did away with its ad free educational accounts, PBworks does still thankfully have ad free accounts for teachers. I was looking at suggesting Ning to some colleagues to support an SSC being run here in the New Year and did so partly because of the google docs Ning ap. Setting it up though I noticed that both my and the Ning group members details and profiles would be divilged to the 3rd party that developed the ap. After I read your post I checked on the Huddle ap and see that it's the same. There are several comments asking why the details are being passed on to a 3rd party, with one person saying this is going to prohibit use with students. I'm now looking to see if there's anything else like Ning which supports collaborative working without passing on everyone's details to a 3rd party.

  2. thanks for that feedback - and the heads up! I wasn't aware either of that particular wrinkle... hmm, lets share our explorations and see what we can come up with!