Jason Feffer, one of the original team members who launched MySpace four years ago, has started a new social networking site, Sodahead.com, a hybrid of MySpace and the Gallup Poll.
The site builds "communities" based on a gamut of questions ranging from "Can anyone explain why young people wear pants below their pants?" and "What is your favorite Harry Potter medium?" to "Do you support embryonic stem cell research?"
"It's a user-generated poll," said Michael Glazer, co-founder and Feffer's friend since kindergarten. "We eventually want to become the opinion site of the Internet."
The site looks like a regulated chat room with a list of questions about the news, community and religion. Users get their own page with a profile and history of how they've answered other questions. Answers are both multiple-choice and open-ended.
The month-old site is fledgling but shows promise. It has about 100,000 registered users, $4.3 million in venture funds from Mohr Davidow Ventures and 20 employees at its Encino office.
The business model behind the site is streamlined contextual advertising.
Advertising against a hodge-podge of text on MySpace, for example, like, "Hey dude, what's up?" can be difficult, and certainly not as effective as "What do you think about the latest Lexus SUV?"
The users on the site range in age from 13 to 80 years of age, and include teens, stay-at-home moms, business executives and nuns. The content is vetted extensively by the Sodahead.com, its backers say, especially when a 13-year-old girl chimes in on a question about premarital sex and an older man answers. Comments are deleted if they become inappropriate.
Sodahead.com developed from an idea that Feffer tossed to Glazer over the phone on the San Diego (405) Freeway when he was stuck in traffic. Glazer, a sounding board for Feffer's incessant ideas since childhood, actually liked this one enough to leave his investment banking job. "It's exciting because it's an opportunity to change the way people use the Internet," Feffer said. "People are not looking for answers on the Internet. They're preaching. This is a great place where you can learn and hear from people from all walks of life."
Ever wondered why your local dentist doesn't advertise on Google?
It's because algorithms are complicated. Small businesses don't have the time, knowledge or resources to find customers online.
Enter Woodland Hills-based ReachLocal Inc., digital advertising company. They find customers online for local plastic surgeons, lawyers or certified public accountants by taking their advertising budget ranging from $100 to $1,000 and helping them spend it online.
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