Jot This Down. eBay Has a Wiki

Ebay has long billed itself as a marketplace platform that enriches its users in new and unique ways.

That marketplace took another step forward in that regard today with the official launch

Ebay’s embrace of wiki technology may also serve as validation that wikis are ready for prime time mass consumer usage.

The eBay Wiki was developed and is powered by technology upstart JotSpot, which originally launched its hosted wiki service JotSpot Live in September of last year.

Jotspot is, however, completely transparent to eBay wiki users since there is no Jotspot branding on the eBay wiki.

Financial terms of the deal between Jotspot and eBay were not disclosed, though JotSpot founder and CEO Joe Kraus told that the deal was certainly significant for JotSpot and a milestone in the company’s history.

“The idea is similar to Wikipedia, but this is for eBay and eBay members and topics,” Kraus explained. “The idea is that we have created a place where eBay buyers and sellers come together and create a user-generated content source about the buying and selling experience on eBay.”

The eBay wiki is integrated with eBay community tools. Users can read the eBay wiki unauthenticated, but if they want to post they have to log in with their eBay credentials. Posters are then identified by their eBay names, which also indicate their feedback ratings and status within eBay.

JotSpot had to jump through a few hoops to get the eBay deal, a challenge that it was apparently up for. Kraus noted that JotSpot had to pass eBay security and eBay scale audits as well as doing some work to support the eBay authentication system.

“In general though it wasn’t a real stretch, just an affirmation that the platform we have built was appropriate to the task,” Kraus said.

Though JotSpot has wiki functionality, it isn’t “just a wiki” but, rather, as Kraus puts it, a platform for building collaborative applications. In fact, JotSpot currently offers some 25 different applications that can be used alongside the JotSpot wiki as part of the whole user experience.

Earlier this year, JotSpot rolled out two new hosted wiki applications: a bug tracker and a class reunion wiki application.

JotSpot had previously launched an online Spreadsheet type application called JotSpot Tracker earlier in the year.

JotSpot is not alone in trying to develop the hosted wiki market. Other vendors like SocialText, which recently added its own hosted spreadsheet application, are also competing in the market.

From Kraus’ point of view, the more competition, the better.

“The wiki market is still in the very early stages and anyone that is pursuing it is helping to grow it,” Kraus said. “The more people recognize that this is a different, unique and nonetheless extraordinary useful way of collaborating, the better off all of the people in the market are.”

To that end, the eBay wiki represents something very significant for the wiki marketplace as a whole.

“What it represents for wikis is yet another milestone in their coming of age out of the land of the nerds and up to a much more mainstream audience,” Kraus said.

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