Wattpad

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Wattpad
Wattpad logo.svg
Type Private
Headquarters Toronto, Canada
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Allen Lau
Ivan Yuen
Owner WP Technology, Inc.[1]
Employees 70
Website wattpad.com
Alexa rank positive decrease 2,034 (April 2014)[2]
Registration Required to create, modify books
Launched November 2006
Current status Active

Wattpad is a writing community in which users are able to post articles, stories, and poems about anything either online or through the Wattpad app. The content includes work by undiscovered and published writers. Users are able to comment and like stories or join groups associated with the website. Around half of the users are U.S. based; most users also come from the U.K., Canada, the Philippines, Australia, and more.[3]

History[edit]

Wattpad originated in 2006, as the result of a collaboration between Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen.[4]

In February 2007, Wattpad announced the addition of over 17,000 eBooks from Project Gutenberg making them available to mobile users.[5] According to a June 2009 Wattpad press release, the mobile application had been downloaded over 5 million times.[6] In March 2009, an iPhone version was released. This was followed by the launch on BlackBerry App World in April 2009, Google Android in June 2009 and Apple iPad in April 2010.

Growth and Funding[edit]

To date, Wattpad has received almost $70M in funding from investors.[7] In 2011, Wattpad announced that it received $3.5M in total funding from its current investors, and from W Media Ventures, Golden Venture Partners, and Union Square Ventures, which is an early investor in "Twitter, Tumblr and other social-media success stories."[8] Then in June 2012, Wattpad raised $17.3M from a group of venture funds led by Khosla Ventures.[9]

The latest round of financing happened in April 2014, where Wattpad announced $46M in Series C funding led by OMERS ventures.[10]

Wattpad signed a contract with Summit Media's Pop Fiction imprint to print Filipino Wattpad stories in the Philippines. There are also some publishers from the Philippines who publish stories from Wattpad like Viva-PSICOM Publishing Corp. (previously known as PSICOM Publishing Inc.), Life is Beautiful Publishing Co., Bookware's imprint Pink & Purple and Lifebooks.

Awards[edit]

In December 2011, Toronto-based Wattpad was selected as the hottest Digital Media company in the country at the Canadian Innovation Exchange.[11] In the same year, co-founder and CTO Ivan Yuen was also recognized as a top Canadian entrepreneur at the Impact Infused Awards, sponsored by Deloitte.[12]

Usage[edit]

As of April 2014

  • 85 percent of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices [13]
  • 25 million unique visitors per month [13]
  • over 1,000 story uploads per day [14]

New authors and teens[edit]

The most frequently voted stories (every day) appear on the "What's Hot List". These stats change daily, due to reads and votes by other users. According to the profiles visible on the site, many of these authors are teenagers.

Wattpad also has a Featured Story list, which promotes content reviewed and approved by staff and an editorial review board. Many of these featured stories are written by self-published and professional writers from different genres.

Contests[edit]

Wattpad holds several smaller contests a year and one major one. The large annual contest is called "The Watty Awards". In 2011, The Watty Awards introduced three entry levels (Popular, On The Rise, and Undiscovered) to allow greater chances of winning for every type of writer. Contests are open to anyone who has a Wattpad account.

During the summer of 2012, Wattpad in collaboration with Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet/novelist/literary critic, held the "Attys"; the first major poetry contest offering a chance to poets on Wattpad to compete against each other in one of two categories, either as an "Enthusiast" or a "Competitor".

Controversies[edit]

Some of the large volume of user-uploaded material hosted on Wattpad is copyrighted material created by authors who did not grant republication rights. In May 2009, an article in 'The New York Times noted, "Sites like Scribd and Wattpad, which invite users to upload documents like college theses and self-published novels, have been the target of industry grumbling in recent weeks, as illegal reproductions of popular titles have turned up on them".[15] Calling Wattpad a site that "furnishes iPhone with bootleg books," Bill Ray of The Register says the company "hides behind safe-harbour rules, promising to remove content as soon as notified by the owners".[16]

The Wattpad website notes, "We do not welcome upload of material that violate its copyright terms," but also states "it is simply not possible to screen and verify all posted content."[17] In response to industry criticism, in April 2009 (before the publication of the New York Times article that named Wattpad as a vehicle for user-generated ebook piracy) Wattpad announced an "Authors In Charge" program, designed to allow authors or their representatives to identify and directly remove infringing content from the site,[17] but this program is designed specifically for "authors with published books for sale."

References[edit]