Submitted by Willi on Wed, 02 Sep 2009 - 11:04
Interview with Rajeev Kapur, Chief Wala, GreenWala.com by Willi Paul
Note: Willi Paul is a Member and Blogger at GreenWala.com
How many members do you have (or - what is the trend from launch)?
The site is growing well over 60% month over month. The new Greenwala site went live April 6, 2009, and has broken traffic records every month since. Since the site is completely open (meaning you don't have to sign in/register before accessing like Facebook) we tend to focus more on visits, page views and time exploring the site as our three key metrics. Overall, all of our metrics are up considerably from April -- and we are positive those numbers will steadily increase as traffic and content grow.
How do you evaluate advertising for the site?
Greenwala is unique when it comes to our advertising model, we try to stay away from the traditional offerings seen on other sites. All advertising featured on greenwala.com is part of the greater marketing campaign for that brand. For example, if you take a look at greenwala.com, our primary monetization stems from the ability to host contests, social media engagements, blogs, site sponsorships and promotions. This type of cohesive packaging is exactly what we did for Hewlett Packard's Choose to Reuse campaign which did extremely well.
While we do offer channel or site-specific ad slots, we try and provide our advertisers with more than just a straight banner ad, we look to offer them a complete solution that has more legs and will prove to be more effective. It's really a win-win-win solution. The partner wins because they get more value, we win because it allows us to work with the partner to develop more content and the Greenwala visitors win because now the advertising is geared to something that is focused and engaging and not simply a random ad that may or may not be relevant.
What are some common technical issues?
Greenwala has been pretty lucky when it comes to technical issues. Recently, we did experience a challenge when a spike in traffic slowed down the site for a day or two, but because we have such a solid team, the issue was rectified quickly. One of the best decisions we made at Greenwala was moving to a Cloud in terms of our server infrastructure.
What online community models did / do you reference?
There really wasn't one community model that I can say we modeled Greenwala around. At the end of the day, our focus is on community, commerce, content and convenience. We perused Facebook and MySpace, Craigslist and green-focused sites like Treehugger. The Greenfeed on our site is a bit of a homage to Twitter and we recently integrated Yahoo Green into our site. In addition, the Greenwala store partners with Amazon.
Who owns GreenWala.com? How are decisions made for the community?
I own a majority of Greenwala with friends, family and other investors owning the rest. All of us are very open and flexible. I personally respond to every e-mail sent to me directly and am available to talk with anyone at any time. In some cases, the Greenwala team solicits feedback on what people like and don't like. We hold weekly team meetings where we review the good and the bad and we usually all come to a decision together. If for some reason decisions made don't work, we leave our egos at the door and try again.
What social justice issues / campaigns are active at the community?
For one, when anyone becomes a Greenwala member, we plant a tree in their name. We think this is a nice way to start your Greenwala experience. In addition, we have a contest for causes platform. Visit www.greenwala.com/greenwala_contests and you will see campaigns running for PETA, Thank you Ocean and others. We just completed campaigns that supported Trees For The Future, Kiva and Ashoka. Thousands of people have participated and we hope that this model will allow for people to truly engage with Green brands and support some great causes at the same time!
What do you mean by "play"?
In our infancy we created a game we called Treewala. We built this game out of pure enjoyment and featured it on the homepage when we were building the Greenwala platform. Play at www.treewala.greenwala.com
How is GreenWala.com different from CoolTribe.com Transition US?
I am not that familiar with Transition US. I am bit more familiar with Cool Tribe and love what they are doing. At the end of the day our ultimate goal is the same - A Sustainable Future. I commend all those trying to do just that.
Are you promoting off-site gatherings?
Not yet, but we are close. You may hear more about these opportunities soon.
Are members getting to know other members in your estimation?
Good question. I know that there are certain members that are very active on the site. The contest for causes platform has allowed people to get to know each other a bit more as we are promoting a fun activity that has not just a Go Green tilt, but also focuses on specific causes. I have heard stories of people who were on the site getting their daily Greenwala dose and have had people walk up to them and say that they too are Greenwala members.
Who are your heroes?
My parents, definitely. Also, my two sons. Everyday I learn how to be a better father, friend and all-around person by being around them. My wife has been incredibly supportive throughout this whole journey and in many cases she is greener than I. Outside of my family, I grew up a huge Lakers fan (still am) and was amazed at what Magic Johnson could do. I am a student of Gandhi and love to read and learn about people that have made making a difference a priority.
Do you think that sustainability is like a new religion?
I like to call it a movement. The economy is creating a generation of young adults who will be trained on sustainability. This movement is causing Gen X and Boomers to pause and rethink about the ways in which they are doing things and how they are using their resources on a daily basis regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. We are on an unstoppable journey now.
Are you creating new green symbols and myths?
Greenwala is creating a community. We hope that the Greenwala community becomes the symbol for those wanting to either learn how to be green/greener or want to provide their knowledge to the community and share their expertise.