LocoGopher.com (Oregon, United States) is a free local community search engine and review site that provides an unbiased focal point for local businesses and community members to connect with each other. Community members or users can search for big city businesses and small communities along the West Coast (CA, OR, WA) for details. On the other hand, local businesses or merchants can register onsite and market their products or services in an unbiased ad-free environment, and can read their customer’s reviews. In addition, these local businesses can also submit relevant material (coupons and discounts, menus, services and product lists, business location via google maps, and documents) for prospective users to review.
I had to chance to talk to the creator of the site, Don Jensen, and this is what he had to say:
What is your business plan or model?
Our primary business model is backend services for merchants. Due to the competitive field right now, I cannot disclose more information here.
How is your site different from your competitors?
LocoGopher is different for a couple of reasons: No advertising or sponsored search results; that way when people search locally, they find everything. Secondly, we focus on both the user and the business. Our goal is to better connect local people and local businesses. Thirdly, we offer merchants a free listing, which includes the ability to add a description, pictures, coupons and documents. It is free now and will always stay free.
Why did did you start this website?
The website was started for two reasons: We saw the market and said, “Wow, we can really create a much better service that will benefit communities more than any other service currently out there.” Secondly, we loved the idea of pioneering a new way for local communities to interact and local search is just the first step.
How are you planning to market it?
Currently we operate on the west coast and will be expanding nationally very soon. Our primary target market is online users, who currently see value in local search. In other words, we are not trying to change people’s behaviors. We are just offering current users a better solution. Our marketing activities include mass media, pr, online ppc and more.
LocoGopher.com launched Beta on June 11 2007 and later, publicly launched the local search engine on August 15 2007. The site has a great advantage among other local fares due to its simplicity and the lack of commercial elements such as advertised content and manipulation of content to suit the likes of particular businesses. I definitely applaud the site for taking an unbiased approach to the local needs of our communities.