Today sees the official launch of Freedoma.com , a Manchester-based customer review site which seems to take its ethics from another era.
Promising to “spread the love”, Freedoma can’t help but make you want to reach for a kaftan and head for San Francisco with flowers in your hair. Well, you might want to ask your parents first if there was anything wrong with free love.
PR Media Blog agreed to share the love with Freedoma’s brain (love) child and MD, Caleb Storkey, and blow away the joss stick smoke to reveal all about this latest social media business:
PRMB: Why is Freedoma needed in Manchester at this point?
Freedoma: Freedoma promotes and supports local businesses, helping customers share their thoughts on the organisations they love and those to steer clear of. For Manchester, it’s all about getting alongside the local, independent stores. For businesses, it’s all about them being given the opportunity to grow and develop their reputation online, so that customers choose them not based on how big their marketing wallet is, but on how good they are.
PRMB: How does it differ in what it does?
F: Unlike yell.com which only offers an address listing and very little additional information, Freedoma collects and collates feedback from customers of each business to get the lowdown on what a business is really like. It also make it possible for local businesses to offer special offers directly to customers. There is the ability for users to see which businesses their friends use and rate. There is a whole bunch of stuff in development, that is already knocking our socks off, and will be unveiled in the forthcoming weeks and months.
PRMB: How will people find you online?
F: We’ve a lot of quirky activity going on offline that will bolster up the finding online. Shortly people will find us when searching for special offers, plumbers in Manchester, cafes in Leeds, etc, through our SEO and SMO campaigns. But, the power and incentive of word of mouth will be a key to our success.
PRMB: How will the site make money?
F: The simple way that the site will initially make money is through businesses taking out enhanced listing, which entitles them to a bunch of additional features. We’re rollling out intially with special offers during the launching season. There are a number of additional monetisation routes, but these are currently under wraps until these features are launched.
PRMB: Will you be aligning it with other social media, e.g., Twitter feed?
F: Yes- integration with other social media is an important part of phase 2.
PRMB: How will you police potentially libellous material?
F: People will have the capacity to flag reviews that are libellous, which will then be assessed.
PRMB: Freedoma has a very different feel about it. Has it been inspired by another company with similar values or from your own personal outlook on life?
F: I’ll take that as a compliment (I think ;). It’s come from my personal outlook on life. I really believe in desiring the best for people, and that if businesses adopted more of a position of serving society, society would be all the better for it. The financial bottom line is one motivator for people, but appreciation, spreading the love and the recognition that their hard work can positively impact people’s life, is a far greater motivator. I guess we’re all learning how this can outplay itself. Little bit hippy and change the world (ish), but I’m convinced somehow life and business can work like that. I think if done well, that’s one of the major potentials of social media.
Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR.