MojoPages started as a Yelp-like directory of local businesses. For the past year and a half, the San Diego-based company has focused on building a distribution network of 1,400 sites, mostly consisting of radio, TV and newspaper sites. Its revenues have come from search-related advertising.
The directory business, which competes against the likes of Local.com, CityVoter, Ellington and others, has been growing traffic at 10 percent a month for some time, and positioned the company for venture capital. Its last round was for $5 million, and the company has now raised $7 million in all.
But now the site is adding to the directory “Mojo Awards,” a new games model that CEO Jon Carder hopes will bring a little of the fun mentality around Foursquare into the SMB sector. A “best of the city” approach, Mojo Awards is a year-long contest that lets consumers vote on favorite businesses and lets businesses promote the content — and Mojo.
Every week, a different category will be highlighted, sometimes with topicality. This week, for instance, Tax Prep will be highlighted. Top companies will be highlighted.
Businesses that receive favorable rankings are ranked in terms of their popularity, which is aggregated and weighted into a single graph. Carder believes the graph is much more illustrative than star systems, which are typically one dimensional. The site, which provides ratings and reviews from Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Citysearch and others, as well as its own, is also developing Trust rankings for raters from certain-approved sites.
Carder says the highlighting of Mojo Awards brings to the SMB/Directory space some of the “check in” and “get involved” feeling of some of the hot social sites, which typically focus on entertainment and dining. Ultimately, it should also boost partner revenues from advertising, as Mojo, which doesn’t charge for licensing, provides a promotional package for advertisers.
Revenues are shared with local media partners, which receive local exclusivity, and support. MojoPages hopes that the revenue share and promotion provides enough inventive for TV station personalities, for instance, to plug the contest and results on the nightly news and other programs throughout the day.