Q&A with Jesse Moeinifar, CEO & Founder at Viafoura

Media 7 | June 30, 2021

Jesse  Moeinifar, CEO & Founder at Viafoura, is a serial entrepreneur with multiple successes spanning a range of industries, including real estate, digital media and software. Dedicated to innovation, Jesse is passionate about game-changing ideas and credits his accomplishments to assembling teams of smart individuals committed to solving challenging problems. Currently, Jesse acts as a mentor to young startups at the Founder Institute and is also an advisory board member for NuBinary, an organization that helps new companies with their technology development needs. When he isn’t building successful companies, Jesse enjoys the challenges of high-altitude mountaineering. He’s summited the highest and most difficult climbing routes across North America, South America, and Europe.

The realization that you can’t achieve anything meaningful if you’re afraid of failure. Understanding that building a company is truly a team sport and the importance of partnering with people who are as excited and obsessed with the vision.


MEDIA 7: What would you say are the biggest mountains you have had to climb in your professional journey?
JESSE MOEINIFAR:
The realization that you can’t achieve anything meaningful if you’re afraid of failure. Understanding that building a company is truly a team sport and the importance of partnering with people who are as excited and obsessed with the vision.

M7: The Independent has recently switched to Viafoura to replace its traditional commenting solution. How do you ensure highest content engagement for publishers like The Independent?
JM:
We pride ourselves on delivering the best-in-class audience engagement and community-building solution for global brands and publishers. In order to drive the highest level of engagement on our customers’ digital properties, we focus on customizing and implementing a highly integrated solution that includes:

- Identity management to support user registrations and conversions
- Engagement products like real-time conversations, live chat, live blogs and Ask Me Anythings to drive user-generated content (UGC) and user engagement
- Content recirculation solutions that surface the top engaging content across the site to drive new page views and reader engagement
- Personalized notifications, including push and email notifications and our proprietary on-site notification feed to create new channels to communicate with and engage users on-site; and
- Our industry-leading AI-powered moderation technology is customized to our customers’ community guidelines and ensures brand-safe and civil discourse to support a vibrant and engaging community.

Coupled with our best-in-class solution is our dedication to client success. We take the time to train all stakeholders and the newsroom to ensure high adoption rates of our tools. We also share best practices on a regular, proactive basis and conduct quarterly business reviews to stay on top of our customers' digital community's health, and provide recommendations to continue to build engagement.


It really is about creating a relationship with your digital community in a safe and protected environment, delivering value exchange moments and building stickiness into your site such as notifications.

M7: What are some of the ways in which Viafoura ensures high free-to-paid content conversion rates for its clients?
JM:
We’re proud to say that Viafoura is the most significant contributor of new registrations and conversions across our network of 600+ brands, with 80% of conversions happening on pages with our engagement tools. We are able to achieve this high rate of conversion through our always-on customer acquisition model that engages, converts and monetizes our customers’ digital audience. By enabling multiple “value-exchange moments” such following a topic or author to receive personalized content updates or participating in a live Q&A with an expert or posting a comment or opinion on a content article, we create a highly integrated and distributed always-on model for converting free users into registered users and ultimately paid subscribers.

M7: With Viafoura, protection against uncivil comments and internet trolls are a guarantee. What are the parameters based on which your auto-moderation engine identifies and removes them?
JM:
Our AI-powered automated moderation engine uses root word analysis, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and semantic pattern matching to assess millions of comments in real-time to ensure they adhere to and comply with our customers’ community and brand guidelines. Specifically, our technology identifies 6.5 million variations of any word to ensure that it cannot easily be obfuscated or camouflaged — a common strategy among trolls — and it understands the context of words and sentences to ensure that the term “snowflake”, for example, is approved for discussions about weather or sports but is automatically rejected when used as a political or personal attack. We custom tailor the semantic pattern rule sets for each of our customer’s sites, based on the rules they are asking their community to abide by.  In addition, our moderation technology includes the ability to identify behavioral patterns to predict which users are likely to emerge as trolls and easily ban them from the site before they pollute the community with their toxic comments and behavior.


The reality is community engagement and UGC is a largely untapped method of increasing resolution of data and it represents the lowest hanging fruit for media organizations to build up their first-party data.

M7: According to you, what are the best methods to build a thriving online community for online publications?
JM:
It really is about creating a relationship with your digital community in a safe and protected environment, delivering value exchange moments and building stickiness into your site such as notifications. You can read more about it in this article.

M7: What are some of the biggest challenges for online publications in the post Covid-19 era?
JM:
Publishers saw a massive spike in readership as people looked for reliable, trustworthy information on the pandemic. However, with things starting to return to normal, it's important to look at the information you've gathered from your community. What did they read? What did they opt-in for? What actions did they take on a piece of content? What is their sentiment on that content? This should inform strategies for personalization, content development and conversions moving forward.

This kind of data will also allow you to create more robust advertising strategies with partners. The more you focus on increasing the volume, accuracy, and recency of your data the more value your data has to advertisers. Media organizations have often overlooked or shied away from the critical importance of audience engagement as key driver of conversion and 1st party user data which is going to be fundamental for online publications post Covid and post third-party cookies.

The reality is community engagement and UGC is a largely untapped method of increasing resolution of data and it represents the lowest hanging fruit for media organizations to build up their first-party data. One of the reasons many shy away from this strategy is the fears and costs traditionally associated with managing and cultivating thriving communities, but modern automated moderation technology is making UGC and community not only viable, but also highly cost-effective for driving engagement and proprietary 1st party data.

M7: If you were not a serial entrepreneur, who would you be?
JM:
I have a bit of an obsession with mountain climbing and BBQing, so I would either be a full-time climber or I’d set up a small BBQ shack.

ABOUT VIAFOURA

Viafoura partners with over 600 media brands to engage, convert and monetize their digital audiences. With best-in-class engagement and content moderation solutions — including real-time conversations, live blogs, community chat, personalization tools and AI-powered moderation — Viafoura helps companies create active, civil and loyal online communities. Advanced data analytics also offer customers access to unique and valuable insights into their audience's behaviors and preferences. As a result, the Viafoura solution drives higher registrations and subscriptions as well as better-targeted content and advertising.