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March, 2012

Indivly's John Clark Sits Down with The Boston Herald


A 2011 MassChallenge finalist whose project flopped is taking a shot at this year's $1.1 million startup competition with a new consumer destination website that will reward users for sharing stories, images and videos.

At the end of this month, John Clark plans to launch Indivly, which is targeted at women ages 25 to 49 and will cover a broad range of topics, including entertainment, health and fitness, travel, dating, money, parenting and pets.

All of the content will be shared by users, written by Clark or compiled by the website's team of six interns. The site's three coders have built in anti-fraud features and a system for reporting inappropriate material.

In exchange for sharing content via Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, users will earn points, which they will be able to redeem for rewards such as free iTunes, movies and gift cards.

The most shared and the most viewed material will get top billing on the site, although users also will be able to sort by most recent posts.

Indivly will differ from prospective competitors such as Swagbucks and Lockerz, Clark said, in that it will not reward people for filling out surveys or offers.

"We're more like a content portal," he said.

David Gerzof Richard, a professor of social media and marketing at Emerson College, said the number of such sites is growing because increasingly, companies are realizing that consumer reviews are seen as far more credible than advertisements and can even make or break a product.

"I don't think there's any one winner in this category (of websites)," Gerzof Richard said, "but if someone comes up with the right mix, they could hit it out of the park."

Clark, 24, said his biggest obstacle was shutting down his previous website, Messageamp, and starting from scratch. Messageamp was a business-to-business contest and promotional platform. But the further away it got from the service business, he said, the farther away it got from his vision of companies running their own campaigns while Messageamp collected fees.

"It's a lesson you just can't learn in college," said Clark, a Babson College graduate. "But I still keep in touch with my mentors from MassChallenge. And I walked away being able to manage people and build a product on a very tight budget."


Source: The Boston Herald
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