2,412 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Lookafox, a crowdsourced marketing site, recently launched with the aim of helping entrepreneurs raise awareness about their startups.
The idea behind Lookafox is rather intuitive. Entrepreneurs looking to spread word about their ventures can earn credits by sharing links to others’ startups. The more clickthroughs their links accumulate, the more credit the entrepreneurs collect. Once they have enough credit, entrepreneurs can ask for their own links to be shared by others; and so on.
The site was created by Wes Cutshall, President and CEO of 32nd Degree. As a serial entrepreneur himself – Cutshall has built a number of sites – he recognized the difficulty in promoting a startup.
Cutshall said he first created a different service for a similar purpose: crowdsourcing registration sign-ups. That site offered a monetary prize to those who hit certain benchmarks in promoting a new startup. While the concept seemed compelling, the site did not take off.
“Nobody wanted to do it,” Cutshall told Crowdsourcing.org. “I hired a company to look at the site and tell [me] whether it had some friction, or maybe point out something [I] could be doing differently. They basically said it was just the business model, [I] had a good idea for entrepreneurs, but people don’t want to mix their business with pleasure. They don’t want to sell out their friends to make a buck. And I thought they were right.”
So, Cutshall went back to the blueprint and decided to tweak his use of crowdsourcing.
“What I realized was there is a group of people that are willing to sell out their friends to get ahead, and that’s entrepreneurs,” he said. “We’re willing to do whatever it takes to get our business going, and we often advertise our business to friends. That’s when I realized that if I’m an entrepreneur, I’m willing to post links and mention other companies that are trying to get going if I think that’s going to help me in the long run.”
Crowdsourced marketing, Cutshall believes, is something most entrepreneurs and internet-savvy folk already do – through sharing interesting links with friends, for example. Lookafox makes this more lucrative by enabling them to earn collateral for their shares.
Currently the site is in beta mode, and Cutshall has so far posted campaign share links for Lookafox itself, as well as a few of his other sites. While he’s still toying with several aspects of the site, Cutshall hopes that in several years the site will become not only a site for entrepreneurs to promote their companies, but also a place for individuals to discover interesting startups.
The concept behind Lookafox seems, at least to this reporter, to mesh especially well with crowdfunding campaigns, which thrive on word-of-mouth and social media marketing. It’s meaningful eyeballs that count, and if a person endorses a project when sharing it with his or her friends and family, the chances of those friends contributing to a campaign increase greatly. And since many crowdfunding consultants recommend starting to promote projects months in advance, slowly building up credits through Lookafox can be a way to ensure one’s campaign reaches a number of diverse individuals from day one.
Before it becomes truly helpful, however, the site needs to build a large, active community. Getting the proverbial ball rolling is the first challenge for Lookafox, and it's arguably the most crucial one to overcome.