Interview with Everipedia co-founder Mahbod Moghadam about Growth Marketing
About 6 months ago I read an article called 4 Thugged Out Internet Tactics I Used to Get Noticed on the Internet written by the co-founder of Rap Genius; Mahbod Moghadam. I think this was just after he ‘resigned’ from the business for annotating a killer’s manifesto. Perhaps not the best move, especially seeing as the business had just survived a Matt Cutts Google sacking (i.e. removed the Google index for black hat link building techniques). I know there are many sides to the story, there always are. It’s a pretty interesting story that you can read about in Business Insider here – but that’s for another time and another interview.
I got in touch with him via Twitter and we’ve sort of been social media ‘buddies’ (lil’bit’o puke just came in my mouth) since, giving each other ‘digital highfives’ like they were going (/gone) out of fashion.
Since leaving Rap Genius he has risen from the ashes and has gone on to start another business and take on a giant of the web; Wikipedia – with none other than Everipedia. Talk about ambitious.
One thing that was pretty obvious from the start was that Mahbod just got growth. He saw it as an aggressive assault to move the needle, and was willing to try ‘anything’ to get there. Sound familiar? Sound like a growth hacker? This is why we stayed in touch as I share the very same mentality. If you’re in, you’re in! It’s all one big game, one big experiment, but a shit load of fun at the same time. Even this blog post is one such example, as he connected with his Facebook friends saying…
I know what he is trying to do here, get loads of interviews, backlinks and relationships with bloggers which is a great way to build ‘good old’ domain authority. You’ll note that there are a lot of links back to Everipedia in this post, but cos’ I’m a lover and not a hater I have included them all. Here is Rebel Hack’s Everipedia page and my own Everipedia page.
I thought why not do this interview, this would be a fun opportunity to share his perspectives on growth with our awesome community of growth marketers and give Everipedia the love it deserves (and get people to share this post pushing traffic to this site – I hope!).
So I put some questions to him, specifically focussed on Everipedia and growth marketing and how the business had prepared and implemented a growth strategy.
So, we exchanged emails over a week or so and this is result.
I introduce to you the most ‘THUG’ tech entrepreneur out there, and his views on growth… Round of Applause for…. Mahbod Moghadam.
What is Everipedia?
Everipedia is Wikipedia 2.0. It’s like Wikipedia… but better. You can make a page about anything you want – no rules! This is my page: https://www.everipedia.com/mahbod.moghadam/ – I tried getting a Wikipedia page several times and they kept deleting it! That’s fucked up… also you get IQ points for contributing to Everipedia, and the points will soon be redeemable for equity in the company.
Can you also let me know some numbers about your current growth?
Shit is blowin up. Check out our Alexa – http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/everipedia.com – it goes up like a thousand spots a day!
How long has the business been operational, i.e for how long have you been hustling to make it a reality?
Site has been live for 6 months, same time I joined. Before that, my cofounders Sam Kazemian and Tedde Forselius had been building the site for 6 months.
Can you define what you class as a user, and how many have you have acquired?
The site has about 20 dedicated contributors now – most are based in LA or are UCLA students since our office is on UCLA campus. UCLA students can now get credit from the university for working on the site, it’s really cool!
Can you also let me know what your monthly top level traffic is, i.e. how many user sessions are you getting a month?
We are almost at 1 million users a month! The site is growing 3x faster than Rap Genius did – so we think it’s going to be much, much bigger than Genius.
How many articles have been written on the site since conception?
We have about 25K articles so far – Wikipedia has 5 million – someday, we plan on having BILLIONS of articles.
What growth are you seeing week on week right now in your core/key metric (let me know what that metric is)?
The main thing we care about is how much money the site makes. We don’t want to have to kiss Ben Horowitz and Dan Gilbert’s ass for money, we want our own money! Right now the site makes about $100 a day – it’s just a start, but growing very fast! We will be rolling out our custom ad product next month and giving our entrepreneur friends’ companies a free month of ads to test it out, it’s going to be cool, it’s a “see also” section on every page. Hopefully it will be as successful as Facebook’s ads since that’s our model!
How did you prepare for growth at Everipedia?
AWS gave us 100K for free, that’s how we paying for the servers right now. I love Amazon – they are hooking up my site, they send me toothbrushes and my squatty potty and everything I want in the mail – they’re the best!!!!
When did you start building growth into your planning?
The site went “live” about 6 months ago – about a month ago we discovered the serial killers and maniacs and insane b-celebrities get lots of traffic, and now the site is on track to have a million users by the end of this month! Shit is blowin up. Sarah Palin’s insane son Track Palin, crazy/sexy Uber abusing drunken doctor Anjali Ramkissoon – everyone wants information on these weirdos, and they are not important enough to be on Wikipedia, so they are getting us hundreds of thousands of users! And there is a never-ending stream of people like this – it’s the reason why Wikipedia deletes 10K pages a week!
Where does growth hacking fit into the marketing strategy?
You can’t “growth hack” unless the core is solid. Only an amazing site can successfully be growth hacked. Everipedia is amazing – everyone who sees it loves it – so we are just doing everything we can to get eyeballs on Everipedia! Once we get them, they stick. Even though Everipedia has massive Google search traffic, there are lots of people coming to the site directly every day to see what’s new. There are also peeps contributing to the site – it’s a lot easier for us to find contributors than Wikipedia because we give IQ points and badges for their hard work, and we promise to give our top contributors a piece of the company. We are for-profit Wikipedia, but we are not capitalists. In fact, we loathe capitalism. We simply want to use incentives to build a superior site.
How has the process of growth marketing evolved amongst your team?
A LOT of Everipedia’s traffic comes from Facebook, which was never true for Rap Genius. I think this is because Facebook is wayyyy more dominant now than it was when I was making Rap Genius blow up circa 2011-2012. Facebook is the new “front page of the Internet” – big ups to Everipedia founding team memberAhmed Amaar for this discovery! He is a fuckin genius.. he’s completely changed the way I look at the Internet.
Who works on growth initiatives at Everipedia?
ALL OF US EWOK! One reason why Everipedia is going to be way bigger than Rap Genius is that everyone on the team – including all the developers – is involved in “Ewoking” (this is our code word for “contributing content” named after EwokABDevito, the Rap Genius user with the highest IQ). At Rap Genius, even the community managers don’t contribute to the site anymore. Rachel Blatt is in charge of growth for Genius Beta and she only has 6K IQ!!! That is insane. I could get 6K IQ in a couple of days. Tom Lehman is the fuckin CEO and he never does annotations, it’s pathetic. It’s cause he’s smoking madd weed. It’s cause none of them are passionate about Genius – I was the only one who was passionate about the product, and I left! They are just working for money. At Everipedia, we are ALL passionate about the product. It is our lives – nobody on our team gives a shit about money. That’s why we are all working on growth – Everipedia is our life.
How do you manage your data and insight analysis?
We use Google Analytics – but what matters to us the most is our Alexa rank. We are at 18K now and we are growing very fast – Genius is at 500. I will not sleep until Everipedia has a higher Alexa rank than Genius!!!! I can’t sleep until that happens.
What is the one thing you need as a growth team right now?
Some press! Everipedia is nearing a million users – bigger than some sites that have raised millions of dollars in funding – and we’ve never been in the press. We have only raised $200K. If Everipedia starts getting press coverage, growth will skyrocket. Unfortunately, press people are whores so they don’t give you coverage until somebody writes you a big check… it’ll happen soon tho so it’s all good.
Any G tips for wanna be growth hustlers out there?
Don’t read Hacker News like a bitch, use your own product. “Dogfooding”, as it is called, should be your life. If you don’t addictively use your own product, you deserve to fail!!! Shalom.