Portland based AboutUs is already well known as a destination point for anyone interested in the contents of corporate websites. Recently the site introduced three new services designed to improve the utility of the site, and in the process add a level of monetization on top of the free services they currently offer.
Users can now hire an AboutUs expert to design their presence. Though wikis can be designed on the fly and by anyone, it’s often necessary to invest in design expertise to distinguish your wiki from the countless others sporting a generic look and feel. The service charges a one-time fee of $99, which includes in-house design and personalized wiki coaching. AboutUs is also giving users the option to sponsor a series of links on a topic, aggregating business listings and calendaring and map functionality. They’ve also introduced a free service that lets anyone, even those without an AboutUs account, monitor any wiki page on their site, a feature they refer to as “Google Alerts for your web site profile.”
Can AboutUs monetize the wiki? The same question was asked of blogs a few years ago, and while many blogs don’t make a dime, some are extremely successful. If wikis are to emulate that success, innovations like these are a good first step.