Weedtracker: I am the President of Dogpatch Media the parent company of WeedTRACKER.com and on the website I am an admin. I maintain the website and guide the overall direction of the company.
Tropical420: As a fellow entrepreneur I am dying to know how you came up with the idea for WeedTRACKER.com. Did you just wake up one day and decide there should be a website to help people locate their local collective?
Weedtracker: Nope. Actually I bought the domain name WEEDTRACKER.COM for an entirely different project. At the time I was working on making a site that was similar to boardtracker.com, but dedicated specifically to weed. It was going to allow you to read all the various weed related forums in a single place.
So one day I was reading on overgrow.com in the Medical Marijuana section and I noticed that all of a sudden there were all these threads from people saying how they had just paid $100 for an 1/8th of herb in Los Angeles. At the time MMJ Dispensaries were brand new to Southern California, so it was really kind of a free for all on pricing. So it got kind of annoying to read all these angry posts everyday, so I had that idea to create a place where all these people could go and complain together.
I already had the domain weedtracker.com and figured I’d just put the other project on hold for a bit and come up with a new name for it later. Initially all I wanted to do was to clean up overgrow’s forum and move the complaints to somewhere else so I didn’t have to read them everyday. I also thought that maybe if all these people had a dedicated place to complain maybe they could get organized and do something about the price situation. So I setup a really basic reviews site that allowed you to give a 1 to 5 star rating for a dispensaries and leave a comment with the idea being that people would see which places had the highest prices and then they would go somewhere else, thus creating competition and letting the market set the prices.
Tropical420: When did you realize that you had created something that could be turned into a business?
Weedtracker: Actually the thought never occurred to me. The site was purely a hobby, I was in Graduate School at the time studying Architecture. One day a friend of mine came to me and said that he wanted to see if he could sell some advertising on the website to some of the dispensaries in Los Angeles, because thats where he lived. I kind of laughed at the idea and said sure why not whats the worst that could happen. So a few days later he calls me up and says hes just sold a banner to a dispensary for 6 months, and the rest is pretty much history.
Tropical420: You were the first web site of it’s kind – a forum where patients could discuss and review medical marijuana dispensaries. There seem to be many clones of Weedtracker these days, how are you keeping up with the competition and how long have you been around?
Weedtracker: We have been around for 5 1⁄2 years. We’ve currently got 1.3 million posts in the forums and over 160,000 members, we’re by far the largest patient community around. The main reason we are so big is that when the site first started we put pretty much every cent we made into advertising. Once we realized that we had a viable business we needed to attract users and advertisers. Six months on the back cover of High Times Magazine did the trick. We went from a few thousand users to over thirty-thousand users in just a few weeks. And since then its been a steady rise of new users.
We also put a lot of effort into building relationships with the community and thats been very important part of our success. We reached out to all the various activist groups and individuals and offered them the opportunity to use our site as a base to communicate with the community at large. This idea of getting all the activists together in one place was also part of my original idea of creating a site where all the patients could get together and use the power of community to drive down the price of Medical Marijuana at the time.
It is true that there are a lot of weedtracker-clone sites now, but all I can really say is that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and it makes me smile a little to know that I’ve done something thats been successful enough that somebody feels like they need to copy it.
Tropical420: What is your favorite way to give back to the medical marijuana community and say thanks for participating on your site?
Weedtracker: Every year we throw an annual party and try to do something really big and outrageous as a way to say thank you to the community for supporting us. But we do more than just a single party, we give back to and help the community in small ways every day. The most common thing that we do is make announcements about upcoming meetings or protests or provide links to contact information for important political figures that need to be lobbied about a specific issue.
Tropical420: People have said that they think you own your own collective, is that true?
Weedtracker: No thats not true. People have said a lot of things about us that aren’t true over the years. Some of the things people have said have been pretty outrageous and funny. The truth is that were patients just like you. We do not own or have any association financially or otherwise with any dispensary. Our job is to provide the community with a unbiased place to discuss medical cannabis dispensaries and provide a place for patient to patient support and discussion of pretty much whatever else they want to talk about.
Tropical420: Do you have a favorite collective?
Weedtracker: Yes. I have several that I like, but I cant name them because I can’t take sides, I have to be as unbiased as possible.
Tropical420: What is your favorite munchie food?
Weedtracker: My favorite munchie food is probably Ice Cream or cookies of some kind.
Tropical420: What is your favorite strain?
Weedtracker: Afghooey is my favorite strain to smoke and my favorite strain to grow.
Tropical420: What is your favorite way to medicate?
Weedtracker: Bong rips!
Tropical420: What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time when you aren’t busy tracking the weed?
Weedtracker: I enjoy skateboarding on my half pipe, mixing house music, and traveling.
Tropical420: Can you tell our readers where they can find some WeedTRACKER merchandise?
Weedtracker: Yes, you can find official merchandise at weedtrackerhempwear.com. I suggest checking that site fairly often because you never know when were going to have something new. We do some wholesale orders to dispensaries and they often sell them or give them away to their patients. If you want to know exactly which dispensaries have our merchandise you can always check the WeedTRACKER Hemp wear forum on the site for details. We have plans to do a far more extensive line of clothing including stuff specifically for women in the near future. Contact my interviewer who also happens to be my Director of Merchandising with any merchandise questions at Alexandra@weedtrackerhempwear.com.
Tropical420: What are the most recent improvements to WT technologically? What are your plans for improvements in the future? Perhaps a phone application? Awesome new strain search engine?
Weedtracker: We’ve spent the last year doing research and development for a complete overhaul of the site. We’ve taken into consideration every request, survey, poll, and suggestion we’ve heard in the last few years from patients, business owners and vendors. We’ve gone over every WeedTRACKER clone site with a fine tooth comb, analyzing their features and design as well as part of our research. I cant reveal the specifics because it will ruin the surprise, but let me assure you it will have been worth the wait. What I can tell you is that the next version of WeedTRACKER will make finding, sharing and discussing information about dispensaries much faster and easier and will allow improved access from a variety of mobile devices.
Tropical420: Wow that sounds like you have big plans for the future of WeedTRACKER! Thank you so much Weedtracker for taking the time to be interviewed, now more people know why I think you are so awesome!
Weedtracker: No problem, it was my pleasure being interviewed for the first time by my beautiful girlfriend for Tropical420.com. I hope your readers check out my site at www.WeedTRACKER.com and keep checking back often for the latest patient reviews and updates.
© 2011 Tropical420.com