Some may think of blogs as just a place for the Web savvy to rant and rave. But for longtime public relations and technology executive David Copithorne, blogs became a key marketing tool for his site hearingmojo.com.
The new vendor neutral destination offers reviews of medical and over-the-counter products for people with hearing problems. The site also has articles on coping strategies, industry news, and links to advocacy organizations such as the Starkey Hearing Foundation and its Web site sotheworldmayhear.org.
The genesis for this project began in 2002 when Copithorne suffered sudden and severe hearing loss and became quite frustrated at the difficulty he had in finding good information on the topic.
“I had had milder hearing loss in the past,” he says, “but nothing like the near-total hearing loss I experienced after 2002.”
That all led up to his decision to launch the vendor-neutral Web site, which now has three advertisers. Copithorne says he’s looking for more and wants the site to be fully advertiser supported.
But, he notes, “I didn’t want to just sell products. There are lots of sites like that. I wanted to start the site to give people place to get info and talk a bout their issues.”
When hearingmojo.com debuted, it got only between 700 and 800 page views per day. Clearly, Copithorne needed something more. So he called on old friend Tom Simons, founder of the marketing agency Partners & Simons to see what he could do.
Simon then began moving the site toward what he terms a “Web 2.0″ second-generation approach in which blogs are “not as just a place to rant.”
Pretty soon thereafter, hearingmojo.com went up to more than 1,500 page views per day.
In addition, the site recently began a twice-monthly newsletter, which at deadline had about 150 opt-in subscribers, says Copithorne.
At present, Copithorne estimates the worldwide market for hearing loss devices runs at between $5 and 6 billion. But, he noted, it’s very fragmented and scattered. In fact, manufacturers of hearing devices have asked him for advice on reaching this market.
“I’ve been giving out a lot of advice for free,” he says.
Looking to the future, Copithorne wants to develop the commercial side of the site slowly.
“I don’t want venture capitalists to be my boss,” he says, recounting his days in Silicon Valley during the 1980s and 1990s.