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Start-up launches prebuilt wikis

Hosted wiki company JotSpot launches two pre-built applications, part of its strategy to woo new customers.

For upstart JotSpot, plain-old wikis are not enough. The 2-year-old company on Monday detailed a strategy to create prebuilt collaborative applications that run on its hosted wiki software.

A wiki is a Web page with authoring tools for sharing and jointly editing documents. Wikis have become popular on the Web and within companies as a way to collaborate on information without using e-mail.

JotSpot, co-founded by former Excite President Joe Kraus, has built wiki software targeted at small and midsize businesses. Its software includes high-end features for business users such as searching on attachments, the company said.

The company hopes to snag more customers by launching several prebuilt hosted applications over the year, Kraus said. The first two applications are JotSpot Class Reunion and JotSpot Bug Reporter.

JotSpot's hosted Web pages can contain text as all wikis do. They also can include reusable code and templates, which allows JotSpot and third-party developers to create customized wiki applications, Kraus explained.

"Most people think of us as a hosted wiki application. But (JotSpot) is really a platform for building collaborative applications," he said. "The wiki is the hub for the hosted applications."

JotSpot is one of several Web companies that have built programmability into their Web sites. These Web companies hope to drive usage by making it easy to build or customize applications that run on their sites.

JotSpot is using search marketing to promote its service by buying search terms related to the specific applications, such as "project management," Kraus said.

"In consumer applications, people look for a specific application instead of starting with a blank-screen wiki experience," he said.

Separately, Kraus said JotSpot soon plans to release a final version of JotSpot Tracker, a hosted collaborative spreadsheet application.