The Joojoo App Launches Today, Looks to Make the Business of Recommendations More Personal

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The most useful recommendations come from your friends, family and peers, not advertisers or strangers. The minds behind St. Louis’ newest app are harnessing the trust you have of your inner circle with Joojoo, launched today for iPhone and iPad in the Apple Store.

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The new iOS app allows you to find recommendations for your friends’ favorite shops, nightlife spots, salons, mechanics, plumbers, realtors and more. Currently the ad-­free platform boasts more than 15 million business listings throughout the US and Canada.

“Word ­of ­mouth referrals are essential for many small businesses and freelance professionals,” Joojoo CEO Brent Cowin said in a statement. “We’re providing a mobile platform to help this real ­world behavior happen more easily and often online.”

Why It’s Different From the Review Sites and Services You’re Using Now:

Unlike platforms like Yelp, Google and Angie’s List, which give higher rankings to businesses that pay for ads than those that don’t, businesses on Joojoo are ranked purely by recommendations from your friends. This makes the listings more relevant than the typical one-size fits all model that doesn’t cater specifically to your unique lifestyle and preferences.

“A coffee shop that gets a lot of positive reviews on other sites might not fit me personally,” says Cowin. “But a list of places my friends enjoy and recommend means a lot more to me.”

The Joojoo model also helps diminish the effect of fake accounts that bolster businesses with only positive reviews. Because you’ll only see recommendations from your own social network, a lot of that typical noise is cleared out, without a social circle, fake reviews won’t have a place to be seen.

Excellence Over Ad Spend

Originally conceived to assist small businesses and professionals doing great work but with little to no room in their budget for marketing, Cowin and his team realized a shift as they finalized the app.

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“We aren’t necessarily pro-small business—we are pro-excellence,” he says. “Whether [your business] has a large budget or no budget, if you’re doing great work, you’ll see the recommendations and feel the effect.”

Consumers connect to the app using their Facebook login information. If you don’t have a Facebook account, a current member must invite you to the app via email. Professionals can create listings for themselves, and if you are a business you can claim your listing to receive added benefits like analytics, communication to those who recommend you and the ability to highlight different employees on your listing who receive specific praise and recommendations. If those employees ever leave their current business, they can then take those recommendations with them wherever they land next.

Looking ahead, Cowin looks forward to growing the app both with business and consumers.

“We want to co-create it with our user base with professionals and users that are on there,” he says. “Because we are using the pull model opposed to a more pushy model, Joojoo allows you to access a more polite, efficient experience with better results in your network. 

Joojoo is now available in the Apple Store. For more info and to register as a professional or business head to their website at

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Mary writes for EQ and previously contributed to ALIVE Magazine and worked in the digital marketing field as an account manager. A central Illinois native, she got her news-editorial journalism degree from the University of Illinois and then moved to St. Louis so she wouldn’t have to be around as many Cubs fans. Then she married one.