ooomf is an online marketing tool that provides real-time rewards to people in exchange for having them promote things via Twitter, Facebook and other social services. If you have something to promote online, you create various deals/offers on ooomf, based on how influential each participant is, and then make that available on ooomf’s website and your own. The greater the influence that someone has, the greater the deal they’ll get. All messages are tracked and customers are provided with analytics so they understand what’s working (or not.)
The company was started by Mikael Cho. Mikael’s been involved in startups since graduating university in 2008, and has also done consulting work with agencies and business to develop creative social media strategies. He’s joined by Sylvain Boucher (CTO), Rafa Olivarria (Lead Designer), Jake Dejno (Developer) and Stephanie Liverani (Head of Data).
Mikael says the goal of ooomf is to help small businesses get out in front of people.
The company is bootstrapped to-date, and is just about to enter into private beta over the next few weeks.
Here’s a video explaining the service in more detail:
NextMontreal: Why did you start ooomf – what market opportunity did you see?
Mikael: Word-of-mouth is still the best marketing tool to help a business grow. With the emergence of services like Klout, which can measure anyone’s online influence across different social networks, there was an opportunity to reward people that spread the word about things they like.
Customers prefer to get recommendations from people they know and trust and these types of referrals also happen to be the best for businesses.
NextMontreal: If I create a deal on ooomf – my only ways of promoting that are through ooomf’s site and my own social graph. How will ooomf attract members to sign up to see deals? What if I’m not followed by any quality influencers, how do they see the deal and decide it’s worth promoting?
Mikael: We are creating a blog and using social media to attract members to signup for ooomf. Our goal is attract an initial group of 20,000 influencers that are capable of spreading the word. Then, we’ll mainly use email to tell influencers about deals.
NextMontreal: Aren’t influencers hesitant to promote stuff for rewards?
Mikael: Many influencers are already leveraging the power of their social graph to get rewards. For example, Klout recently ran a deal with Spotify to give anyone with a Klout score of 20 or more early access in the US. Also, if you got 5 friends to sign up for Klout, you would receive a one-month trial of Spotify’s premium version. This attracted over 100,000 signups within a day.
Another recent example of a startup utilizing the power of influencers is Wahooly. They’ve built a user base of 27,000 influencers in 3 months that are interested in spreading the word about startups on social networks in exchange for equity.
NextMontreal: How did you get to the point where you decided ooomf was the way to go? Was it the original idea? Did you do any customer development?
Mikael: The original idea of ooomf was a widget for ecommerce businesses to use during the checkout process. After speaking with customers, we realized there were some scalability issues with this model and that we may be missing out on other market verticals that could really benefit from ooomf.
We received more interest from authors trying to market their books and startups trying to create buzz about their products so we are really looking to see how we can help these types of customers.
Tell us a bit more about the team:
Rafa received a Bachelor’s degree in Information Design at UDLAP, Mexico. His thesis project ‘Muros de Reflexion’ registered visits from 27 different countries and promoted awareness about the importance of reflection. Rafa is a talented designer with a vast design portfolio that includes web, editorial, illustration, and print.
Jake is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin. He has a degree in Economics and Communications with a minor in Computer Science and has 5 years of technical work experience. While attending university, Jake worked in the University of Wisconsin Technology Department and as a technology consultant.
Stephanie is an Actuarial Analyst with a a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Mathematics from Concordia University. Stephanie has worked for Actuarial consulting firms in Vancouver and Montreal and she is passionate about making sense of large samples of data. Her deep understanding of analytics and metrics has helped multiple companies make accurate, data-driven decisions.
NextMontreal: Who are your main competitors?
Mikael: MyLikes.com, Adly.com and SponsoredTweets.com. The main difference: ooomf tweets are completely voluntary not sponsored. What I mean by that is with ooomf, when you tweet out for a reward, the reward is a deal on the product you’re tweeting about. But with a competitor like SponsoredTweets, for example, you’re getting cash for tweets, which makes the tweets less valuable for advertisers.
We believe that if you’re using ooomf as a consumer and you’re tweeting about a product, the referral will be a better one, because your incentivized by a deal on the product itself not something else.
Also, people using using SponsoredTweets can only engage in conversations on Twitter using approved tweets from the advertisers. With ooomf, your tweet does not need to be approved by the business you are tweeting about, making it a more personal message that you can send.
Lastly, influence on SponsoredTweets is determined primarily by follower count and follower/following ratio. We’re currently using Klout to determine social influence, which takes into account many more relevant influence variables that fall into 3 main categories: True reach, amplification, and network.
NextMontreal: Who is your ideal customer?
Mikael: Our ideal customer is a small business/startup looking to make an online presence.
NextMontreal: How are you going to charge? When are you going to start charging?
Mikael: We are currently exploring different pricing options and have not finalized a model yet.
NextMontreal: What can we expect over the next 6 months from ooomf?
Mikael: We’ll be launching in private beta within the next couple of weeks. Our goal is to have a formal launch within the next couple of months.