Spread the Mojo: San Diego Web Startup MojoPages Gets Real World Advice on Building Communities to Review Local Businesses

10/23/09Follow @bvbigelow

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kind of traction MojoPages shows with its early media partners.) Is the goal to promote Mojo’s brand name or to drive Internet traffic to its media partner websites? (It’s “absolutely to drive traffic to local media search websites,” Carder said.)

In one of the rare disagreements during the evening, Knapp told Carder, MojoPages would have more success co-branding with its media partners, while Huberman countered, “You have to control your own mojo.”

Huberman also asked a question that touched on the second key issue that Carder brought to the MIT Enterprise Forum: How many registered users does MojoPages currently have? (About 40,000, Carder answered, conceding, “Our community is very ghost-townie.”)

Carder said MojoPages’ workforce has been mostly focused on developing its search and business-rating technologies, and on search engine optimization, or SEO. As a result, the second key question that Carder brought to the event is: “How to attract and retain online community members that will contribute reviews and spread the gospel of Mojo?”

Carr suggested that MojoPages could build its community by reaching people in the online communities they already are in, including Local.com, Citysearch, SuperPages.com, Facebook, and MySpace.

Huberman offered Carder a variety of advice on amassing a Web community: Of the 40,000 users you have, she told Carder, you need to figure out, who are the MojoPages power users? What makes them tick? What are their demographics? And how can you clone them? She recommended that MojoPages work with businesses to create incentives for users to write reviews, so for example, if you write a review about a salon, you get 50 percent off your next spa treatment. Another technique for building traffic, Huberman said, is to “incentivize users,” for example, by offering discount coupons to users who sign up 10 friends.

Creating such incentives, though, will require working closely with local businesses. Carder agreed, saying, “I think the business owner is going to be the biggest contributor to our success.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • glenn helm

    is mojo connect to geopage

  • joe Dirt

    I have recently been looking for a residential cleaning business to come in and do some office cleaning for my building. I am glad I stumbled upon this site so I am able to refer back to businesses that do cleaning. What a great way for businesses to get their names out there and others to find them!

  • Jason Knight

    Mojo sounds like a really useful search engine. I think that I have used it a few times but I can’t remember. I will have to look into it some more though. I usually just use Google but If Mojo can get me to what I am looking for I would be fine with using it.

    Jason|http://www.paisanspizza.com/