Australia-based Phoja is a “free social photo discussion service, where users can share photos and discuss about them with the rest of the community”.
At first glance, the service came across as a simple Digg-clone for photographers. However, the more clicks I made during my first visit to the site, the more I realised how unique this site is. Whilst Phoja incorporates a community voting system similar to Digg, the benefits that community members can gain from the site are different all together.
Using a voting system in a community where the topic(s) of discussion are all visual presents some great potential. To use an example from Phojas about page, imagine if you were a girl (just for the sake of my example- I don’t EVER imagine myself as a girl) and you were out on a shopping spree. You need to buy a dress as soon as possible for an event. You narrow your selection down to two, but you can’t make up your mind…..
This is where Phoja could potentially come into its own, just upload a photo of one dress and then a photo of the alternative and let your community decide which ones best for you. After all, it is the community that you are trying to impress with your clothing and appearance right?
Phoja will accept images online or directly from your mobile phone. As the quality of mobile phone imagery increases, Phoja should experience some nice organic growth in content from this channel.
Phoja has also presented an opportunity for any community member to profit from their venture, regardless of whether the user uploads a photo or not. Each comment loaded against a new image is graded by the community. At any one point in time, the comment with the highest number of votes will receive the adsense commission from the ads placed on the applicable page. To receive this benefit a member will obviously require a live adsense advertisers account.
All in all, I think that this Melbourne based Aussie start-up have done very well. There are so many community voted content sites like digg popping up these days, very few of which have a unique offering that can form the basis of a sustainable competitive advantage. As for Phoja it’s not surprising at all that by avoiding this ‘copy-cat’ trap they are beginning to gain some real traction.