Answer: Prior to today, absolutely nothing. But starting today, we are all — along with a handful of other super-smart online marketers who put me and my talents to shame — founders of a new online “advice-opedia” called Gooruze, pronounced as you might expect: like “gurus.” Gooruze runs on a platform called vibEngine, which also powers the very popular parenting site, Minti.com, a 2nd-place winner in the most recent SEOmoz Web 2.0 Awards.
What is Gooruze?
Gooruze, like many other marketing sites, involves an element of voting on articles. But it goes far beyond that, too. Gooruze combines many of the best community features into one site:
- Blogging platform: All members get their own blog hosted on Gooruze. You can also import posts from an existing blog and include them in your Gooruze profile.
- Article platform: Articles are hosted on Gooruze. Platform includes photo upload, one-click access to add links to related articles (whether you wrote them or not), email-a-friend, print tool, and comments from other users.
- Forum platform: The “Groups” section already includes 30+ mini-communities with discussion on topics such as Conversion and Analytics, Reputation Management, Blogging, Social Media, Small Business, and more.
- Answers platform: Similar to Yahoo! Answers, the “Q&A” section is a place to ask quick questions and get answers from the community.
- Member directory with networking features (friending, etc.).
- Full-featured Gooruze mailbox with ability to save drafts, contact other users, and more.
- All Gooruze tools listed above have basic HTML-editing capabilities (your blog, articles, groups, Q&A, mailbox, etc.)
- Much more….
To get an idea of what it looks like, here’s a screenshot of the home page…
… and here are a couple links:
Interview with the Creators
Gooruze is the brainchild of Jackie Shervington and Clay Cook, who have been involved in marketing since the mid-1990s. Clay founded ineedhits.com, and Jackie is the CEO. Rather than me trying to explain Gooruze, I asked Jackie and Clay to help out by answering a few questions.
Matt: There are a lot of marketing community sites already, and new ones seem to be popping up all the time. Why start Gooruze, and what makes it different?
Clay: Certainly there are various forms of Online Marketing communities, however I believe the market still lacks a single destination where people can run a search for a particular online marketing topic they are interested in learning about (i.e., “landing pages”) and very easily select and read the top three ranked advice articles presented to them. Gooruze’ unique member and article ranking algorithm will ensure the crème rises to the top.
For the contributors, Gooruze will provide a platform for them to build their brand and standing in the community. Much like how eBay brought together all the disparate online retail stores, and delivered to them an interested audience.
Jackie: Having spent the last six months tracking our competition and seeking out potential Founding Gooruze I appreciate this more than most. And yet despite this I haven’t found a solution that targets the “online marketer” with a combination solution where you can capture from the one place “what’s new, get advice and build relationships.” And not being a techie, let me also stress a place which is not full of techs who speak another language. My personal goal for Gooruze is that instead of reviewing my 50-plus feeds and favorite sites for news and advice I can go to Gooruze daily. I think that is achievable with Gooruze.
Matt: The engine that runs Gooruze is pretty unique, and you already have a successful parenting community site that uses it, true?
Clay: Correct, the vibEngine (owned by Vibe Capital and licensed to Gooruze) is the technology that runs Gooruze. It is the result of a significant chunk of the AUD$2.7M (raised to date by Vibe Capital) and 18 months of hard work. The vibEngine runs a few sites already including Minti (parenting), Refurber (Home Improvement), and is also licensed out to BuildingInLondon.
The vibEngine is an extremely powerful platform, it includes all the usual Web 2.0 bells and whistles, but more importantly has a unique article and member rank algorithm that makes it extremely hard to game the voting system. A member’s ranking within the community improves the more he or she contributes to the site and the better quality those contributions are. Members with a higher rank, not only gain more site admin privileges, but also their votes are weighted more than members of a lower rank. This creates an automatic “trusted source” weighted-democracy environment.
Matt: You’ve assembled a great group of “Founding Gooruze,” and frankly, I’m still not sure how I got invited. But aside from me, who are some of these folks and what will their (our) job be?
Jackie: You are a great example of that specialist diversity and stretch — you provide that reach to small businesses with your experience and advice which is so often ignored by the big players.
To achieve a broad topic reach we needed a diverse group of skills sets and writing styles. We also knew that it was important to have challenging and creative minds who would help the community push to new levels. Interesting also is the age mix from those just starting a career to those who have been teaching since we left university.
Clay: As Jackie mentioned, we have tried to provide an even spread of experts (i.e., SEO, Blogging, Online PR, etc.) so that Gooruze has an Online Marketing focus and not just an SEM focus for example. We have picked 10 “Founding Gooruze,” and we believe they represent some of the brightest minds in Online Marketing.
The 10 Founding Gooruze are yourself (Marchex, Small Business SEM), Andy Beal (Marketing Pilgrim, SEO and online marketing), Duncan Riley (TechCrunch, blogging), Brian Solis (FutureWorks, PR2.0), Marc Loveridge (Market United, digital media), Matt Dickman (Techno//Marketer, interactive marketing strategist), Malcolm Auld (Malcolm Auld Direct, marketing veteran), Adam Davis (PPC Kid, online direct marketing), BJ Cook (CheerOutLoud, conversational marketing), and Drayton Bird (Ogilvy & Mather Direct, direct marketing veteran).
Thanks for answering my questions, Jackie and Clay!
Final Thoughts & Getting Started
A confession: I was skeptical when Clay and Jackie approached me. Do we really need another online marketing portal?, was my thought. But I tried out the platform, and become a convert almost immediately. Gooruze is flat out cool. So whether you think you’ll be a contributor or just a reader, I recommend that you:
As an extra encouragement, Gooruze is giving away $10,000 in AdWords advertising. The Founding Gooruze (myself included) will be choosing 20 early adopters who add value to the community and giving each person $500 in AdWords credits.
So what are you waiting for??!! See you there.
(p.s. – be sure to add me as a friend)