eBay, in collaboration with JotSpot, has just released a new community wiki - making it almost certainly the world's largest wiki platform for a commercial website (Wikipedia is bigger, but it's non-commercial). eBay Wiki is described as "a collection of fact-based articles written and maintained by eBay Community members" and is powered by JotSpot's innovative wiki technology. I spoke to JotSpot co-founder and CEO Joe Kraus about the new eBay wiki yesterday - his thoughts later in this post. But first an overview of the product. 

eBay Wiki is located at www.ebaywiki.com and the wiki topics are categorized and tagged. You must be logged in as an eBay member to edit a wiki page, which then presents you with an easy-to-use wysiwyg HTML editor. So no awful wiki syntax to learn!

Choosing topics/sub-topics and tags is very easy, as the following screenshot shows:

eBay Wiki also has article history and ratings, the editor's user details and seller/buyer ratings (i.e. their eBay reputation), RSS feeds and other easy-to-use social features.

So why did eBay choose to add a wiki? eBay has a buyer and seller community of more than 193 million members - a huge community that is thriving with conversations and activity. Their message boards get over 100,000 messages per week and eBay users are very knowledgeable on their topic niches. Having a Wiki on eBay will serve to refine and formalize the cream of the content in its user forums. It will also help eBay in the search engine rankings, as its user-generated content coffers will increase significantly over time!

Joe Kraus: it's a Wikipedia for eBay

In a Skype call, Joe Kraus described eBay Wiki to me as "a kind of Wikipedia for eBay and about eBay". He said its main focus is to give "tips and tricks on how to get the most out of eBay". The Wiki will complement and build on the eBay forums, in that the wiki will be a "single point of reference" on topics. 

Joe sees eBay Wiki as another step towards wikis coming of age and becoming mainstream. I agree, the use of wikis from one of the Internet's biggest consumer companies may be vital to their uptake outside of tech and enterprise circles. Joe said eBay will promote the Wiki as part of their community hub and eBay CEO Meg Whitman is announcing it in her keynote address at the eBay Live! user conference in Las Vegas today.