SearchCore, Inc.’s newest finder site Sportify.com came one step closer to completion today, as the company announced the Sportify mobile app for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. The app’s primary function is to provide recreational athletes of some 90 different sports a means of searching for and scheduling games and/or connecting with other players in their local areas. The software also features reviews of individual players and recreational sports facilities, and will help users to facilitate the scheduling of events with email confirmations.
The move makes Sportify the company’s third finder site build-out, after the already up and running Tattoo.com and ManufacturedHomes.com. In a recent interview with Equities.com, SearchCore CEO Jim Pakulis stated that the company’s goal was to build and monetize 50 different such sites in different industries over the next five years.
SearchCore began its foray into the finder site business with its first acquisition, the highly popular and successful Weedmaps.com, an online directory of purveyors of alternative medicine. That venture was sold for a profit late last year, but only after the company had begun carrying out a plan to apply the same model to any under-served niche industry.
The company chooses its target markets based on four criteria. An industry must be fragmented and relatively untouched by technology/the internet, total industry market cap must exceed a quarter of a billion dollars, SearchCore must believe it can become the number one or two finder site in a given industry, and must believe it can generate $500,000 in revenue per month after one year.
Thus, aside from manufactured homes, tattoos and recreational sports, the company also has its sites on karate, the rodeo, travel trailers, and modular homes.
Pakulis explained the process as follows: “Regardless of the industry, the core of the company and the fundamentals of what we do stay the same. In other words, we are constantly using the same engine on every site and therefore we’re able to monetize the same way. We simply create different body styles to lay on top of the engine. Separately, but related, we also look at industries in which we can create multiple revenue streams from our finder site. In addition to clients paying a subscription fee for our listing services, we like to be able to generate income from ancillary services.”
The “same engine” to which SearchCore’s CEO referred in the interview is the company’s programming platform, Node.js, good enough for companies as huge as Wal-Mart (WMT), or LinkedIn (LNKD). Node.js has allowed the company to develop an extremely versatile, scaleable model that can be tailored to fit the specificities of whichever industry in which the company decides to get involved in.
The Sportify mobile app then will be the first real test of the company’s scaleable model in a market that will presumably rely more heavily on mobile usage due to time-sensitivity issues that are part and parcel of pick-up/recreational sporting events, particularly when users in a given area are not yet acquainted with one another.
Sportify may well change all of that, though. The extent to which the company is able to create a social network could very well be measured not only in profits, but in interpersonal relationships created over sports games, and between participants who otherwise likely never previously had any reason or occasion to speak to one another.
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