Even as several local search competitors have been forced to rethink or exit the space, others still see it as a big opportunity. And in fact it is, just one that’s very hard to capture. The latest contestant to enter the race is San Diego, California-based MojoPages, which I wrote about briefly here but which officially launched today.
The headline in the press release reads: “Internet Startup Revolutionizes Local Search: Imagine YellowPages, MySpace and YouTube, All Rolled Into One.” The first part (“revolutionizes”) overreaches, but the second part (“Yellow Pages, MySpace and YouTube”) is more accurate.
MojoPages, rather than a completely new entity, is really a borrowing and remixing of existing models and elements on other sites. That’s not a bad thing. However, with the exception of the local video perhaps, nothing here is new. Even then, TurnHere and Savory New York, for example, have local video; and the major yellow pages publishers will follow soon.
Rather than offering financial incentives (e.g., Starbucks cards) MojoPages appears to be trying to create a competitive environment and point system to generate reviews. Judy’s Book and Yahoo Answers, among others, do something similar.
MojoPages may well be able to use its combination of consumer-facing elements to attract usage, although rolling out nationally will be a challenge. However, selling ads is the big test. That’s what caused Judy’s Book to do an about face and forced a (reportedly impending) sale at InsiderPages. I’ve written at length about those challenges before.
I admire the obvious enthusiasm of the founders and wish them luck. But right now they’re in the foothills of the mountain and there’s a long way up to climb.