Losers of the Google / JotSpot Deal

In my longer analysis of the JotSpot sale to Google I listed a group of JotSpot customers who may feel disadvantaged by the deal: those who’d rather pay to have their data at a company whose pure business model is charging for services than enjoy free service by Google whose primary business model requires dissecting/analyzing their data left and right.

I also pointed out that several competitors are offering deals to migrate these customers to their platform free or at a discount. Socialtext and Atlassian were the first to come forward with their offers, but since the previous post I heard about Central Desktop, (update: see correction in this comment by Central Desktop’s CEO), ProjectForum and I’m sure there are others. (Clearly, the wiki market is growing and sadly, I don’t know all the players). Jerry Bowles and Tom Raftery wrote more on the subject.

We all seem to have missed a point here: there is a group of customers for whom migration is not optional but a necessity: participants in the JotSpot Wiki Server beta program. Like I’ve said before, as much as I am a SaaS believer, it is not a religion, apparently the feedback from most customers is that they want their wiki behind the firewall – JotSpot’s response was the Wiki Server edition. These customers now have a rude awakening: JotSpot notified them that they would discontinue the beta program. Current customers have the right to continue using the product for the remainder of the 90-day beta period (what’s the point? smile_omg) but there is no support, no migration plan – game over, bad luck. smile_angry Of course JotSpot had the right to do this, these were not paying customers (yet), and a beta is a beta, after all. But a beta program is a mutual effort, and especially early on requires a lot of time and effort from the customers, so it’s clear that these customers may feel let down. While most competitive migration offers are hosted solutions, it’s this specific “betrayed” group that Atlassian goes after: they offer migration help and discounted rates on Confluence, their behind-the-firewall enterprise wiki. So let down or not, these customers may eventually be better off on a more mature, robust enterprise platform.

As a sidenote, this is the second time that JotSpot drops a product benefiting a competitor: when they discontinued JotBox, Socialtext reaped the benefits by moving those customers to their Appliance. Update: Please read the comment exchange below for correction by JotSpot.

Update (11/29): two post on how the deal affected JotSpot partners and customers:
JotSpot Got the Goldmine. Its Partners and Customers Got the Shaft.
The JotSpot Google Merger

Update (11/30) the above post, The JotSpot Google Merger is now deleted, supposedly under pressure by … (?) Read the story on TechCrunch.


  1. Zoli,

    To be clear, Central Desktop isn’t offering to migrate Jotspot client data to our platform (especially for free!).

    While we believe its a valiant effort (and a good PR turn) we believe that it is a bit of an over promise by the other vendors. Sure, the static wiki pages will port over easily to the other platforms, but the dynamic functions of Task Lists, Spreadsheets, Discussion Forums and Blog functions will not be easily portable (if at all) to other platforms. I hope the users are aware of this and I think its a bit of deceptive marketing on the vendor’s behalf.

    Don’t get me wrong. A sale is a sale. And I understand the desire to make some “quick and easy” sales and wins…..but its a little concerning that our small “wiki world” has so quickly resorted to fighting over the same exact userbase list. Implying that the market is already saturated (which we know its FAR from being even close to saturated).

    There are plenty of fish in the sea. Jotspot only had 2,000 paying companies. If we are already fighting over such a small number its not a very reinforcing thought about our future.

  2. Isaac,

    Thanks for the correction. Clearly, your blog post is not a formal migration offer, just an invitation to check out Central Desktop – fair enough. I’ve changed the post above.

  3. Isaac, you’re right, there will be components that JotSpot Wiki Server customers may not be able to migrate into Confluence. It’s not just us, of course; every wiki vendor will have difficulty importing the custom apps within JotSpot’s wiki. Our offer is primarily to help people import pages. It’s going to work better for some customers than for others. There could be some work arounds. With the calendar piece, it *may* be possible to export as iCal and then import to Confluence. Similarly, it *may* be possible to export Jot spreadsheets to Excel, then import using an import plugin we already have. But we know we can import pages; we’ve built a conversion utility for other wikis, it’s working brilliantly for a number of customers. If/When it comes time to import content from a former JotSpot beta customer, we’ll know more.

    I would agree the market is far from saturated. The number of wiki vendors is growing, not shrinking (for now anyway).

  4. Zoli,

    I work for JotSpot and just wanted to make a quick clarification that the JotBox product line has not been canceled. All new business has been suspended for now as we join Google including sales of our JotBox hardware appliances. That being said, we currently have a number of customers actively using JotBoxes which we will continue to upgrade, support, and maintain.


  5. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for commenting. Please help me understand this better. I understand that only The Wiki Server is canceled as a result of the Google acquisition, but had you not already discontinued offering the JotBox to new customers prior to the Google deal? If that’s the case, I think that’s what Ross refers to, even if you continue supporting existing customers.

    Again, I welcome any clarification.


  6. Hi Zoli, thanks for the response. We had canceled the Wiki Server Product and stopped selling the JotBoxes simultaneously both as a result of the Google acquisition. We honestly did not feel like it was a good time to introduce new products (hence the cancellation of the Wiki Server) and because of the deal we are essentially pressing the pause button on all new business. So, we stopped selling JotBoxes, support contracts, single tenet servers, etc. The JotBox had never been canceled just put on hold with everything else.

    The main reason I wanted to make a quick correction was so that our current JotBox customers did not panic from hearing conflicting reports. We’ve been in touch with all of them so far to let them know that we will continue to support them, but you know how rumors start 🙂

  7. Anonymous says

    You mentioned that JotSpot dabbled in being an application platform but that it never really took off. Maybe not in the consumer market, but there were many small to medium size businesses that used Jot as a platform to create custom applications you would have never imagined powered by a wiki. Traditional apps that would’ve taken months took only a fraction of the time and cost. There were also several companies that were in the early stages of producing 3rd party apps on the “JotSpot Platform.” We can only hope that Google can see Jot is much more than Office 2.0, unfortunately sometimes Jot seemed to be blind to it too.

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