GigPark’s Concept and Challenge

gigpark logoGigPark is a Toronto-based startup that seeks to create a network of friends so you can tap their knowledge base about local-anything, but predominantly service providers. The company has also built a Facebook application (like Loladex).

In the US there are dozens of competitors. In its home market, GigPark faces competition from ZipLocal, Torstar’s Toronto.com, iBegin and YellowPages.ca (not to mention the search engines).

The site launched in February and I was unaware of it until recently. The problem right now is that there’s basically no there there, just an aggressive effort to get people to upload their contacts and to start posting about local businesses. Literally there’s almost no content that I could find in several searches. And you can’t do any searches until you register.

If the site were widely adopted by my friends and their friends (or the parallel Facebook app) you’d have a potentially rich database of content. But the site hasn’t bought a commercial database (InfoUSA, Axciom, Localeze, iBegin Source) so that there’s at least some content to jump start that process. This is the chicken and egg problem taken to new levels.

However there is, apparently, content in GigPark’s hometown of Toronto, linked off the homepage, e.g.:

Gigpark listing

The concept behind this is of course sound. It’s populating the content that’s a challenge. The Facebook application may help. But nobody wants to be the first one at a party.

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5 Responses to “GigPark’s Concept and Challenge”

  1. Noah Godfrey Says:

    Hey Greg,

    I’m one of the Founders of GigPark – thanks for the post!

    We see GigPark as a tool that makes it easy for friends to help each other find the services they need. When looking for a wedding photographer, handyman, or other services, people look first to friends and family for a recommendation.

    The local directories you mention can be very helpful (we sometimes use them too!) but their listings and reviews come from people you don’t know, which is where people turn if they can’t easily find a recommendation through their friends first.

    GigPark members see and value this proposition – as a result, our most active members have access to almost 1,000 recommendations from friends and from friends of friends. I encourage you to add some friends on GigPark and check it out. In fact, feel free to add me as your first friend (go here http://www.gigpark.com/people/noahgodfrey and click “+Add Noah to my friends”).

    All this being said, you make a great point about giving people a reason to jump start this process of finding their friends and sharing recommendation – thanks!! Stay tuned though – we’re releasing a new version of GigPark in the coming weeks that will allow new users to see and use more content before joining.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Would love to get an update. As I say, the concept is really valuable. It’s getting the content in there that’s the challenge — almost like asking people to join another social network or take the value proposition on faith before it’s actually working for them.

    That said it’s probably best to start small, as you have, in a single market or a few markets.

    I wish you luck and keep me posted.

  3. Gib Olander Says:

    Thanks for the update on the new site/application, Greg. We (Localeze) always like to say that it’s easier to join a conversation that is already taking place as opposed to having to start a conversation. Having a database of business content from any of the companies you mentioned can help get a conversation or in this case a community started. Best of Luck Noah. Oh one last thing another Local Canadian and US search service is http://www.genielocal.com

  4. Doug Cress Says:

    they fell victim to the ‘if you build it they will come’ mentality.

  5. Canpages Buys GigPark with Big Plans « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] directory GigPark as part of a more aggressive expansion into the broader North American market. I wrote about GigPark a couple of months after it launched last year: GigPark is a Toronto-based startup that seeks to [...]

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