Wetpaint Starts Licensing its Facebook-Based Media Distribution Tech

10/19/12Follow @curtwoodward

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to build a fast-growing website, with a twist: the company focuses heavily on Facebook to build and interact with its audience.

By tapping into the data generated by social network users, Wetpaint says it can learn much more about what its audience wants to see, and when it wants to see it, and even in what order—in a recent interview, Elowtiz told me how swapping out one “Jersey Shore” actor for another in a story’s headline could bump up traffic by 10 percent.

Elowitz says the proof is in the site’s growth. In the roughly 18 months since the entertainment sites launched, Wetpaint now claims about 12 million monthly unique visitors. That’s a pretty impressive climb, and Wetpaint also touts the way social network-based publishing lets a publisher more closely control the relationship with their audience, “rather than doing a rain dance to get Google’s algorithm to like you.”

Which brings us back to Burda Media, the German publisher that’s signed on as the first to license Wetpaint’s “social distribution system.” The startup will provide the larger publisher with its software, which can plug into existing content management systems, along with training and a “playbook” for getting its content seen and consumed by people through Facebook, Elowitz says.

“With a lot of these really big media companies, they’re just learning social … and they don’t have a center of excellence in the company” for seizing hold of Facebook distribution themselves, Elowitz says.

More deals with publishers could be on the way. And if the Facebook-based publishing system finds fans among big publishers, keep an eye out for big growth at Wetpaint’s Seattle offices.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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