They’re calling it the industry’s very first marijuana-based search engine.
Companies looking to target America’s multi-billion dollar marijuana industry have often had a hard time reaching potential customers online, because ad networks like Google AdSense and Facebook have been none too cannabis-friendly.
The big guys have arbitrarily removed ads for supposedly “promoting drug use” or just for featuring an innocent little pot leaf.
Enter Cheeba.com, the latest push from the Medical Cannabis Network (MCN), a marijuana-based search engine which, according to the company, “creates online advertising opportunities never seen before for marijuana-related businesses.
“While ad networks like Google AdSense seem to flat out ban companies from reaching out [to]the cannabis community, Cheeba is stepping in to give the green light for 420-friendly online advertising,” the company said in a Monday press release.
”MCN was created to fill the gaps in the marijuana industry, and what we’ve been seeing over the years is that cannabis-based businesses are continually denied services from online ad networks,” said Jason Draizin, chairman and CEO of MCN.
“Not only does this prevent cannabis companies from utilizing the Internet to grow their businesses, but it also blocks companies from reaching out to the very gal medical marijuana community,” Draizin said. “We launched Cheeba to step up and fulfill those needs.”
Cheeba calls itself “the web’s first search engine for the marijuana industry, allowing users to search through an ever-growing database of anything and everything related to cannabis.”
In case you were waiting, here’s the monetization part. Cheeba also features an advertising platform that the company says “is integrated with the entire network of MCN brands, creating first-of-its-kind opportunity for cannabusinesses to enter the online display ad space, and for all businesses to target the cannabis community.”
According to Cheeba, the site’s network displays ads in search results, as well as across a network of industry websites to provide a targeted marketing opportunity within the medical marijuana industry.
On the way is a keyword-based advertising platform similar to Google’s AdWords, bringing MCN even closer to redefining the online ad space.
“Research shows that online display ads will account for almost 40 percent of total U.S. online ad spending this year,” said Grant Deken, marketing director for MCN. “Yet due to discrimination from the major ad networks, businesses have been unable to target members of the cannabis community.
“This opens a rare window of opportunity for Cheeba to capture the majority of the market share in the online search space, not just for dispensaries and marijuana doctors, but for other ancillary businesses such as law firms, consumer goods providers and educational institutions that want to target the 55 percent of Americans who favor marijuana legalization,” Deken said.