Wikispaces Turns Three

March marks our third birthday here at Wikispaces, a time for reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going. First, we’re tremendously grateful to the hundreds of thousands of passionate members of our community who have taken the time to get to know and use our service, tell us how they feel about what we’re doing, and spread the word. We would be literally nowhere without those who call Wikispaces home.

We also thought this birthday would be a good opportunity to talk about our philosophy as a company as well as share some statistics that tell our story in numbers.

We set out in March 2005 with the idea that people might want to easily host their own wikis for non-profits, classrooms, community groups, businesses, and their friends. We tested our theory by getting Wikispaces out in front of real people, asking for their feedback at every opportunity, and building what they needed. To our surprise, the first few months went amazingly well — a large influx of new members, great content, and most importantly feedback on what we should do next.

With some early success and a strong feeling that we could provide real value to our customers, we raised $125,000 from a group of angel investors in September 2005. This allowed the three of us (Adam, Dom, James) to work full-time on Wikispaces out of our little San Francisco office. Rather than try to “get big fast” by raising a huge amount of money and hiring a small army of people, we thought we would first build a profitable business by charging our customers reasonable prices for our services. We’ve done that and are growing quickly and organically as we had hoped we would. Bisma joined us in July 2007, followed by Sarah in September 2007. And we’re currently hiring designers, developers, and support gurus.

Along the way, you may have noticed that we operate a bit differently than some startup companies. We don’t have a PR firm or issue press releases, and we tend to worry a lot more about our members than about publicity. We work hard to make your experience on Wikispaces as positive as we can, and hope that you’ll tell a friend or two about us. This is our marketing strategy in a nutshell — making our members happy and productive.

As you have been a large part of getting us to where we are, we’d like to share some Wikispaces numbers with you that show how we are growing. At the moment, we have just over 920,000 registered members and over 390,000 wikis. In the last thirty days, over 1.7 million people visited wikis on Wikispaces.com and our Private Label sites. Wikispaces served 26 million pages last month and nearly 200 million pages in our third year of operation. This growth is primarily due to word-of-mouth from people like you. So give yourselves a hand, it’s been a great three years of growth!

Year four at Wikispaces is shaping up to be our best yet. From a much-improved user interface to more powerful ways to manage your pages, files, and users, we’ve got a great set of new features coming. But most importantly, we have big plans for improvements on our core mission: helping you get work done with your group quickly and easily. Like everything we do, we improve Wikispaces based on what you tell us. So keep the feedback coming, both here on our blog and at help@wikispaces.com.


All-Time

920,681 registered members
390,721 wikis

Year Three – 12 Month Total *

193,691,644 pageviews
10,865,066 unique visitors

30 Day Total *

26,385,223 pageviews
1,766,296 unique visitors

* Stats are from Google Analytics and are through 15 March 2008.

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16 Comments

  1. Cathy
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday and many, many more!

    Wikispaces is one of the VERY BEST technology integration resources that we share with the teachers in our district and your 100,000 free teacher wikispaces offer is awesome!

    Your support team is exceptional and if I lived in San Francisco I would be one of the first to apply to work with your company!

    Thank you all for Wikispaces!

    Cathy

  2. Posted March 31, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Wikispaces!! I have been using a Wiki for my classroom and the tool has been great. My Wikispace has become absolutely vital to my daily lessons. My students (and parents) love wikis and they have spread all over the school! More and more teachers are using them. Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work!

  3. Posted March 31, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Congrats y’all!!!! Great news, great growth. Can’t wait to see what new stuff you roll out.

    Bud

  4. Sima
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Haappy Biirrthddaayy Wikispaces!!!!

  5. Posted March 31, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    It sounds funny: my blog’s birthday and yours are the same! Congratulations! Great work.
    Julen

  6. Posted April 1, 2008 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Wikispaces!
    Congratulations on 3 amazing years!

    It’s been my privilege to spend the last 2 of those years here on Wikispaces and I think you’ve offered an amazing, powerful, robust, easy-to-use, fantastic, great, amazing… did I say //**amazing!**// service!

    Our site
    http://art110.wikispaces.com/
    has grown to about 10,000 pages with about 40,000 images… and **who knows** how many edits!
    (yes, it’d be //nice// to have more than those 26 letters to sift through those 40,000 images!)

    There are more ways Wikispaces is amazing than I should even start to ramble on about here… “Recent Changes” – a simple, “obvious,” and staggeringly powerful tool. The ability to search for “Gestalt” or “Scuba” or anything else and find any page that any of my 1,000 students in the past 5 semesters has posted is amazing (I think I already used that word :+]

    Let’s not forget the time there was that bug in IE-7 – did MS ever fix it? I gave up checking after a year… **VERSUS** that time there we found a bug in Wikispaces which, after I isolated the situation, you guys fixed in //less// than 24 hours! What an **amazing** team of people to work with.

    The power of wikis, the access to knowledge, the 21st century interactivity and community content creation are so great and so of our time.

    I honestly can’t imagine anyone doing a better job than you all have done. Still… an anniversary is a time for reflection as well… and my one critique, not of Wikispaces, but of the wiki medium, is how many of my students **hate** it. In the 2 years that I’ve been using WS my student evaluations (on a 5-point scale) have dropped almost a full point. It’s obviously hard to quantify how much any given element or constellation of elements contributes to something like that, but I’m guessing the the “forced wiki use” accounts for more than half of the drop.

    I think I think that because I hear the term “Digital Natives” so often… and because everyone has a cell phone and an iPod and multiple game platforms… that they’re “tech savvy.”

    I think I think that because almost everyone has a laptop and a MySpace page that they’re tech savvy. I think I think that because wikispaces is easier than HTML (which isn’t that hard in the first place (in fact, our university, CSULB, now has a president who, as a student, coded his own web page)) that wikispaces should be no problem.

    You have no idea how many people waft through my office and pout “MySpace is //so// much easier!” I used to pretty much dismiss these comments, but as one of my teaching assistants, Lee Le (a **huge** wiki //lover//) has pointed out: with MySpace, Facebook, etc… you just push buttons and they sort of do everything for you. With WS you actually have to come up with page name, make links, maybe do tags, etc.

    None of this seems very hard to me, especially for a citizen of the 21st century, but even in this age there are many types of minds, and many of the 19-year-old minds in Southern California aren’t wiki-friendly. And to be fair, even with ridiculously easy MySpace, there are plenty of users who’s page was actually made by their girlfriend, etc…

    So… my… //our// dilemma is, how do I use the power, grace, beauty, strength, interactivity, openness, accessibility of wikis if a significant percentage of users/citizens are unable /unwilling to participate? Do we just leave them out? Do we supplement Text & Visual modes with a new “Very Visual” mode? Where you, somehow, don’t even make links or name pages? I’d love any thoughts or options on how to make this work for more people.

    Lee is currently working on an interesting project. She’s taken one of my big sections and put them on Twitter, and put another on Pownce.

    Perhaps because Twitter is //so// simple, it is, to some degree “working.” For the 1st few days the Pownce posts were, as we think Pownce leads you to, a bit longer and more substantive. To our surprise, the Pownces quickly disintegrated to shorter and less content than the Tweets. It’s almost as if, like abuse victims, our Powncers are “broken” and unable to communicate at all.

    This project actually started as a Linguistic project, aiming at analyzing the linguistic impact of different interactive/social network environments on the cognitive/communicative spaces users inhabit… it has turned into a reconsideration of our own “overly insider” perspectives and what it takes to actually create a tool/environment with mass accessibility.

    If even Pownce is “too hard” for general users, how can any wiki work out?

    Sorry for rambling about the negative on your anniversary, but I think the future is at least as important as the past, and because you’ve done such **amazing** work and because I believe in this tool so much, I want to have a clear view of what is and is not working and how it exists for our users.

    For fall semester we’re trying something new. We’re making the course “Wiki-Optional.” So “users” (students) will have the choice of turning work in via wiki pages or by traditional ink-on-paper. Having fewer, better pages will probably make me happy, and having a wiki-escape hatch will certainly make them happy. Who knows, maybe my student evaluation numbers will even go up! :+]

    We’ll LYK what percentages go Wiki and what percentages go Paper.

    Congratulations again, and THANK YOU **SO** MUCH!

    Oh yeah, and the ability to sort on multiple tags would sure be nice. That and the ability for space administrators to modify tags on user pages.

    Happy Birthday!

    — Glenn

  7. Posted April 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Although I’m new in this wikispaces I’m happy for great job you’ve done. I share this in my co-workers and learners to use and love wikis and they will spread in our community,co-workers here. Thanks for all you do and May God Bless you.

  8. Posted April 3, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Glenn, thanks so much for your support. You’ve been a great help to us.

    It’s definitely a challenge getting widespread and happy adoption. From our end, the challenge is removing all those barriers to entry and getting closer to the “just push the button” model.

    Feedback like yours certainly helps us get there.

  9. Posted April 18, 2008 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Wikispaces happy birthday!!! im soo happy this great website can celebrate it’s 3 b-day

  10. Posted April 30, 2008 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Adam, Dom, James

    Feliz Cumpleaños, es lo que necesitamos gente creativa, que incorpore herramientas en la red, que nos permita hacer que nuestro trabajo sea agradable y motivante.
    De verdad considero que el wiki es una herramienta potente para el desarrollo del trabajo colaborativo, al permitir la edición de trabajos por varios autores. Actualmente estoy montando cursos para el personal de un instituto Universitario y considero que esta herramienta era lo que necesitaba.

    Les auguro éxitos en lo que emprendan a fin de hacer de los wikis una herramienta aun más potente de lo que actualmente es. Adelante gente creativa es lo que necesitamos en este planeta. Gracias po permitirnos trabajar en este entorno

  11. Posted April 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations. I appreciate the niche that Wikspaces work at developing and try to get others to consider your platforms as one of the most useful web options on offer especially in way of generosity and service.

    I use wikispaces for cooperative activities and to house published graphics and audio for my own podcasts.

    I have 2 suggestions:

    (1)Facilitate multimedia a bit more and make wikispaces more self evidently audio friendly. At the moment it’s too enclosed and inward looking. That doesn’t mean that you have to generate RSS feeds on published material — maybe just make the widgets a bit more web mobile/embeddable… etc)

    (2)Review your FAQ. I still find your upgrade DIY confusing and I’d like to see much more material aggregated on the use of wikis in various contexts — even a page or pages brim full of examples — a Wikispaces gallery –like the good folk into TiddlyWiki-ing do. It is hard to tour wikidom and relate to projects akin to your own as the search engine isn’t very useful as it is driven by key words. So a register may be useful. I think Slideshare does that well for instance. A FAQ on media/audio uploads would be useful as there are a few tricks involved to avoid the dreaded “https”(whatever that is — I think that shodul be noted somewhere.).

  12. Posted May 1, 2008 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Idelma,

    Gracias por sus palabras agradables. Cada día trabajamos construir una herramienta más potente y útil. En nuestro cuarto año, continuaremos en esta manera. Si tiene ideas para mejoras, por favor díganos.

    Saludos,
    Sarah

  13. Posted May 1, 2008 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Dave,

    Thank you for your comments and suggestions. When you say that you would like to see the widgets as a bit more mobile or embeddable, what sorts of things are you thinking of?

    As for FAQ and help, we have plans to roll out some major changes in the near future that we hope will make it easier for people to see both what is possible in Wikispaces, and how these things can be done.

    Creating an easier way for people to see what others are doing on their Wikispaces is also at the top of our list. If you have any other ideas about what you’d like to see here, let us know.

    Cheers,
    Sarah

  14. Posted May 1, 2008 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Sarah — By embeddable I mean grabbing them copy and paste for use on other sites. At the moment the only widget you offer in that regard is the cumbersome badge with changes widget.(And its interface isn’t very interactive either. It’s crude and not self evident).

    If I want to draw people to my wiki kingdom I want ways and means to entice them there….as I want it to be the core hub for my webside universe. And since I work out of a lot of blogs and discussion forums I’m more and more considering that wikispaces is ‘home’.

    I’d also like to see an easier accessible and informative DIY — like this

    http://activist-toolkit.wikispaces.com/Wikis

    That not only is introductory but fosters the ‘culture’ of wikis…

    I need an easier way to get a shy web Neanderthal to easily overcome their fears as I’m trying to draw in people with little web savviness. And since I often teach (Blogger) blogging I know that wikispaces are in fact much more accessible than that platform if it’s pitched a little bit differently.

  15. Posted May 21, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear friends,

    Nice that Wikispaces helps poor people too from slums. Our parish is in a slum and we work hard in social topics to teach them to be more able to be well prepared people.
    Our ressources are first for social work and we don’t have enough to pay our insertion in Internet.
    A lot of thanks.

  16. Courtney Brett
    Posted May 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Wikispaces!
    Congratulations on 3 amazing years!

    It’s definatly not easy to make a website world wide but you did it! It’s a great way for you and other to communicate!
    Thank you for the oppurtunity for anyone to have a wikispace and express how they feel on it!

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