Weedmaps has been a highly useful company for helping patients find marijuana dispensaries in their area. A cannabis dispensary pays Weedmaps to display their location and the strains currently available and this allows patients to make an educated choice about which dispensary will have what they need. Due to the strict regulations around advertising marijuana businesses, weed dispensaries don’t have many options available for getting the word out about their store. Facebook and Google ban all ads that promote any kind of drug use so dispensaries depend on the services of Weedmaps and their rival, Leafly, to get the word out about their store.
Multiple Reviews; One IP Address
The issue that has arisen lately lies in the Weedmaps cannabis dispensary review section. As it turns out, a large number of the reviews are coming from the same IP address. What this means is that multiple reviews for a single business are likewise being written by one single device or internet user. Many reviewing services like Yelp screen for fraudulent reviews by restricting how many reviews can come from each IP address. It would seem that this kind of screening has slipped the notice of Weedmaps software which renders a lot of business reviews as untrustworthy.
A Brief History of Weedmaps
This discrepancy may be due to Weedmaps growing so rapidly as a company. The startup was co-founded by Justin Hartfield and Keith Hoerling who launched the company in 2008. Since then it has grown to become a multi-million dollar company with over 200 employees. The site hosts a database of over 3,000 dispensaries, information on over 950 marijuana strains and the site receives approximately two million monthly visitors. Chris Beals, the President of Weedmaps Media Inc. said that while they were concerned about reviews, their company was generally more focused on having accurate lab information available to viewers. Now that the issue has been revealed, Beals said they are developing automated tools to help the company’s 15 moderators.
Competition Among Cannabis Dispensary Cataloging
While all this is going on, another start up is entering the cannabis dispensary listing game. MassRoots is a social network for the marijuana community that currently has approximately 900,000 users. After receiving many requests by users to expand in this direction, MassRoots has decided to expand its services to include being a Dispensary Finder. They have already signed up over 100 dispensaries and are offering rates that are incredibly affordable. Dispensaries can sign up for $42 a month as a limited time special. The price will increase to $99 a month after Sunday which is still incredibly affordable, given that Leafly listings range between $450 to $995 a month and Weedmaps options are anywhere between $399 to $10,000 a month. The expansion will make it easier for MassRoots users to find dispensaries recommended by others on the social network.
As marijuana continues on its path towards legalization, it’s likely that companies like these will continue to spring up and become more competitive with each other. Perhaps the competition will also continue to raise the quality and industry standard of each of these companies as well.