A Social Network for Brands to Stay in Touch

Sodahead Aims to Let Marketers Poll and Interact With Consumers

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NEW YORK -- Jason Feffer, former VP-operations at MySpace (once known as employee No. 4 there) and the man behind the 4 billion ads-a-day platform in use by the social-networking giant, has "humbly" decided to take down Gallup, revolutionize social networking and create a new vision of consumer-brand interaction, though not necessarily in that order.

Sodahead puts polling at the center of social networking and gives brands a new way to interact with consumers.
Sodahead puts polling at the center of social networking and gives brands a new way to interact with consumers.
"People kept coming to me saying 'The problem with social networks is the lack of standards for ads. We need to figure out a way of placing the ads, like banners.' No, the value of social networking is you can integrate the ad as content. In that sense, the MySpace format is limited, because it remains very one way."

Mr. Feffer partnered with his friend Michael Glazer, formerly senior VP, Jefferies Investment Banking, and, with backing from Mohr Davidow Ventures, raised $4.3 million to launch Sodahead, a website that puts polling at the center of networking, allowing users to meet new people based on affinities rather than "friend hopping," and form communities around issues that are important to them.

"On Sodahead, we have no sales team, no negotiated contract," said Mr Feffer. "We use Google's Adsense and get 20 to 30 times the usual rate, because every time a user posts a question, and every time people reply with answers, they create the context that Google uses to place the advertisement. We optimize Adsense."

Because Sodahead has no sales teams, brands would retain complete control over their web page on the site, and get the chance to poll and interact with their consumers. And the huge amount of polls means Sodahead collects demographics galore, and with its widget, it can collect the data from thousands of other websites.

There are no major marketers on the site as yet, but Mr. Feffer said at the moment it is free for brands to claim a spot, but that eventually they would be charged depending on size of the brand, but the cost would be less than similar rates from MySpace, as the brands take responsibility for their pages.

"Want to know how Midwestern soccer moms will react to that [movie] trailer? We've got it," said Mr. Feffer. "The trick is not to look like a survey company. We are MySpace meets Gallup."
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