jotspot_logo.gifHas Wiki start-up JotSpot decided its future depends on aggressively integrating search?

Perhaps, because the Palo Alto company has just hired Kenneth Norton away from Yahoo, where he headed product management for Yahoo Search. (See press release in extended entry below. The move follows the departure of Gary Flake from Yahoo, who was principal scientist at Yahoo Research Labs, who joined Microsoft’s MSN.)

We haven’t talked with Norton yet, but we’re told by a source close to JotSpot that Norton believes the next round of innovation breakthrough will come from startups. And JotSpot’s chief executive, Joe Kraus, has his own experience and background in search as the co-founder of Excite. We tinkered with JotSpot’s beta product just before its release, and were impressed by its nimbleness. The product allows users to collaborate closely by using and integrating applications within a Wiki platform. Early on, Kraus was working on new ways to integrate search results within the Wiki. Richer search functionality may be an intriguing way to go, especially for a collaborative company like JotSpot at a time when tagging and photo/music sharing are all the rage — even if we’re not sure yet of the magic that would make it really different…

But Kraus is probably hankering for a way to partake of that lucrative search industry that his former Excite ended up fumbling on when it became too big and unfocused like everybody else during the bubble days.

And likely not missed on Kraus are reports like the one released by Forrester today, which shows that nearly 85% of advertisers plan to spend more on online advertising this year, with that spending increasing by 25 percent on average. The WSJ carries the story here (sub req), which also says Forrester predicts the online ad market will grow to $26 billion annually by 2010, more than double last year’s $12 billion.

Press release is below.

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JOTSPOT NAMES KENNETH NORTON VICE PRESIDENT OF PRODUCTS

Norton leaves Yahoo! to spearhead product management at JotSpot

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 3, 2005 ― JotSpot, the first application wiki company, today announced the appointment of Kenneth Norton as vice president of products, continuing to round out the company�s management team. Norton brings a track record of driving business and technology in entrepreneurial and high-growth environments and twelve years of diverse product management experience to JotSpot.

Norton will spearhead the product strategy and management of the JotSpot wiki as it moves from a beta product to a fully-featured and generally available product. He will also be responsible for building out the product team and extending the product line for JotSpot. Reporting directly to the CEO, Norton will join the company immediately.

�Product management is core to our business,� said Joe Kraus, co-founder and CEO, JotSpot. �Ken has been a product, strategic and technical visionary at several successful ventures already. He understands start-ups and bringing innovative new products to market. His leadership in this area will be a critical contribution to JotSpot in our next phase of growth.�

Norton joins JotSpot from Yahoo!, where he was the senior director of product management for Yahoo! Search. In this role, he spearheaded Yahoo! Search�s investments in vertical search, community and personalization during the company�s recent resurgence. As a member of the company-wide Product Council, Norton helped to shape product strategy worldwide and led the launches of several products in Yahoo!’s Search & Marketplace division.

Prior to Yahoo!, Norton held product and engineering positions at Inktomi and CNET, was a co-founder of Grand Central Communications and spent more than two years as the chief technology officer at NBC Internet. Before the formation of NBCi, Ken was vice president of technology at Snap, a CNET Networks spin-off. Norton holds a B.A. cum laude from Boston University and an M.S. in technology management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

About JotSpot

JotSpot, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., is the first application wiki company. Founded and led by Excite.com co-founders Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, the company has a mission of making Web applications simple to build through the power of wiki. The JotSpot technology turns today�s document wiki into an application development platform and expands the boundaries of what a wiki can do for enterprise and workgroup users. For more information, please visit www.jotspot.com.