Why it’s time to take Wattpad seriously
If you like reading and writing, you might have heard of Wattpad, the free online publishing platform and mobile reading app. It has quietly built a userbase of about 25 million active users, and now some analysts believe that it could be the next YouTube. This article by the Daily Dot explains why it’s time to take the platform seriously, and what lies ahead for it.
“Despite the stigma that Wattpad has had to contend with, one community can’t get enough of it: the business community. In its latest round of funding, Wattpad raised more than $46 million from numerous venture capital investors, including Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, who invested in 2012. That brings its fundraising total over three years to a neat $66 million.
By any stretch of online success, that’s impressive. But for a company like Wattpad, it’s especially unusual. Wattpad rarely discusses itself as a book publisher, although the publishing industry definitely discusses Wattpad. Instead, Wattpad has often described itself to the Daily Dot as “the YouTube of digital publishing.” It’s easier, perhaps, to see Wattpad as a YouTube-like outlier with huge engagement, still separate from older publishing platforms. Like YouTube it’s heavily reliant on remix culture and free sharing; but unlike YouTube, you’ve probably only heard of Wattpad if you know someone who publishes there, or happen to have a teenage daughter.
Much like Tumblr, Wattpad has grown primaily by allowing its community to define and evolve it. It’s not surprising that Wattpad and Tumblr have large overlaps in userbases—Tumblr is Wattpad’s top-referring traffic source according to SimilarWeb. And it’s not surprising that these userbases are often the most overlooped: tween girls, teen girls, and writers of fanfic. This is the demographic that tends to be forgotten in the annals of pop culture unless an easily gawked-at phenomenon like Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey comes along.”