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When crowdsourcing made a new site launch a breeze!


Directories Group, publisher of the online social beauty network beautyheaven, has unveiled a new consumer-focused site called homeheaven. What’s novel about the launch is its adoption of, loosely speaking, a crowdsourcing model – tapping a wealth of market knowledge and responding to preferences – to fine-tune the site before the site was thrown open to the public at large.

The NSW company gave beautyheaven members – predominantly a B2C community – a first and exclusive first look at the new site and engaged them to get it “just right.” The “loyal” group user-tested the site, offering tips and advice on functionality, content, and look and feel before homeheaven was launched to the public.

Site launch heaven or what!

“Since letting beautyheaven members in on our secret, followed by the public, hundreds of engaged readers are already helping us build our new heaven,” said Jackie Maxted, founder and MD of Directories Group.

Maxted calls the feedback she got as “amazing with no complaints, just offers of help.” This level of participation is highly unusual with a launch like this and proves the power of our community-based model, she added.

Homeheaven – as the name suggests – focuses on anything and everything in a home. So it offers a variety of news, reviews and how-tos, a vast subject matter and varied in preferences, too. Homeheaven fancies itself as bringing the “chat over the garden fence into the digital age.” This might have lent itself particularly to a crowdsourced model.

So, might this be the way for the future?

Homehaven says it took the different approach, instead of launching the site and then bracing for a backlash, as often happens.

Fast-forwarding the feedback

“We’re delighted that they’ve loved this opportunity, and that they’ve been nothing but helpful in assisting us to perfect the user experience,” Laura Simpson, Online Manager at Directories Group, says of the users who first tested the site.

“It’s commonly accepted in the industry that negative feedback or an initial backlash goes with the territory, particularly when an established brand is launching a redesign or a new title to the market,“ she said.

But, in this case, homeheaven “responded by making changes in real-time” based on initial user feedback, she added. Simpson admits that the site still hasn’t “quite been perfect (a few little glitches have crept in), but the overall mood, enthusiasm and engagement of our audience has been more than perfect.”

Directories Group, which also runs the B2B site beautydirectory, plans an official brand launch and awareness campaign for the new site later this year.