Spread the Mojo: San Diego Web Startup MojoPages Gets Real World Advice on Building Communities to Review Local Businesses
One advantage of attending a presentation at the San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum is that the people who ask questions are a lot smarter than I am. And so it was Wednesday night, when MojoPages founding CEO Jon Carder laid out the strategy of his three-year-old San Diego Internet startup.
MojoPages, which got $5 million in a Series A venture round almost four months ago, is Carder’s third Internet startup. “Mojo has that kind of sexy sound to it,” he told the audience. “Either Austin Powers or The Doors, depending on your generation.”
The Internet company’s core business combines a searchable online business directory with a social network that provides consumer reviews of local merchants, restaurants, service providers, and other businesses. In addition to collecting reviews, Carder says MojoPages’ “people-powered” technology provides rankings for local businesses by analyzing the reviewers and using an algorithm that weights each reviewers’ credibility.
Carder told the audience that “local search” already is a $7 billion market in the U.S., and just over half (54 percent) of Americans now use the Internet instead of a Yellow Pages phone book to search for everything from dentists to hair stylists and mechanics. Like Google and other search engines, MojoPages makes money by selling pay-per-click “sponsored ads” that highlight the top three business listings under various search terms. Carder says MojoPages also generates revenue from $40-per-CPM advertising (click per 1,000 impressions), and generates revenue from advertising partners like Citysearch and Ingenio, a pay-per-call advertising network owned by AT&T. According to his business plan, MojoPages will reach profitability in 2011, with 766 websites generating revenue of almost $1.3 million.
Carder said he views Yelp, the San Francisco-based Internet business founded in 2004, as MojoPages’ main competitor, but he adds that MojoPages is differentiating itself in a variety of ways. One significant difference is that … Next Page »