Wetpaint is a new wiki platform that just came out of Beta. I remember reading the hype about it in March and also reading the follow up post on Threadwatch a few days later entitled “WetPaint new on Friday, Old by Sunday”. I signed up to be a beta tester and got an invite, but after a careful review, I gave it a big thumbs down.

The company has secured an impressive 5M in funding, but I just don’t see where that money is going – maybe 3 SuperBowl ads in 2007? The biggest problems: interface and motivation.

I’ll give the service an honorable mention for trying to create a slick ajax interface, but the end result is quite clunky and not very intuitive. If they are trying to bring the wiki to the masses, it won’t be able to do it with what it has. Seems like a product of “engineering trees, not the forest”.

Second is the motivation factor, which I think is the reason this company might fail. Squidoo has been criticized for this same reason, but at least it has Seth behind it AND it offers some kind of revenue share (even if it is laughable). If I am going to spend my time creating a wiki and putting in the hours, what will I get in return? To quote my conversation with Pete Cashmore of Mashable, “What’s the motivation factor?”. Any web2.0 company that’s trying to make it through the breaks needs to answer this question on behalf of its users, “What’s in it for me?”. Whether that’s “I’ll save time” (Digg), “I’ll be organized” (Digg again), “I’ll make money” (Blogger/Adsense), or “I’ll get recognition and exposure” (Wikipedia). Wetpaint? None of the above.