Google acquires Jotspot – It’s free now!

Business,Products,Search by on October 31, 2006 at 1:20 pm

Garret Rogers picked up that Jotspot has been acquired by Google. Also on the jotspot homepage was an announcement that the service would become free at the end of the month.

I have been a longtime fan of internal wikis in general and Jotspot in particular, having introduced its use at Judy’s Book. I was deeply disappointed with Jot’s pricing model - basically they charged based on the number of pages you had created. We were faced at having to upgrade from 300 ($30 a month) to 1000 pages ($80 a month) This resulted in perverse incentives: you wanted to consolidate / delete pages that had reduced utility. The result of this was that the wiki in general had reduced utility. I was contemplating taking our company off of Jot and moving them to our own wiki and this is welcome news.

In addition to a compelling product, Google also picks up a strong team: Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer (co-founders of Excite), and Ken Norton formerly Director of PM at Yahoo Search.

On the rumor side of the deal, rumors had swirled awhile back that Yahoo had bought Jot. Clearly this didn’t come to pass and the fit definitely feels better at Google - I am curious though what happened with Yahoo. Jot reportedly built most of their initial service using outsourced development, but this isn’t something I’ve verified - only something I heard discussed in startup circles.

I found it interesting that Jot had closed to new accounts. Whenever Google acquires a company, tens of thousands (possibly more) of Google fans go to sign up for the service. Especially when the service goes from paid to free. Most startups companies, just aren’t prepared to handle this kind of deluge (remember what happened to Urchin). In time, Google will help Jot deploy on Google infrastructure, but until then Google needs to keep the doors shut (at least partially) to avoid taking the entire system down.

Congrats to the Jot team, and to Google - it is a nice acquisition.


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