Oneflare boosts user numbers with WOMO acquisition

Australian online local services platform operator Oneflare Group estimates that it will now see over 1 million unique visitors each month, following its acquisition of online customer review website WOMO.

Australian online local services platform provider Oneflare has acquired online customer review website WOMO for an undisclosed amount.

WOMO -- an acronym of "word of mouth online" -- claims over 419,000 customer reviews for 175,000 businesses on its website. It claims 70,000 registered businesses in Australia.

Oneflare, which has an existing database of more than 60,000 businesses, hopes that its acquisition of the Melbourne-based review site operator will offer its platform an additional source of consumer recommendations and reviews.

With the acquisition of WOMO, Oneflare Group estimates that it will now see over 1 million unique visitors each month, representing a five-fold increase over the past year.

"Together, Oneflare and WOMO now account for a significant proportion of all independent local business reviews in the country," said Oneflare co-founder and CEO Marcus Lim. "This aligns closely with our vision of being Australia's most trusted source of local services.

"We are aiming to do to local services what Carsales has done to the motor vehicle industry and Seek has done to employment. The acquisition of WOMO is an important step to achieving that goal," he said.

Oneflare founders Adam Dong (L), and Marcus Lim (R). (Image: Oneflare)

Although the value of the deal has not been disclosed, Lim has confirmed that WOMO will continue to operate as an independent entity under Oneflare's ownership, with the prospect of eventually integrating the two platforms in the future.

"For the time being, they're going to operate independently," Lim told ZDNet. "What we're planning to do in the short term is to provide users to both cross-market and cross-advertise.

"[WOMO's] focus is very much on the directory and reviews. And we've got the marketplace. So, we're going to operate the site independently with the view of an integration down the road," he said.

WOMO will also maintain a separate brand and public profile, while making use of Oneflare's operational resources to get customer reviews in front of a larger user base.

All WOMO employees and management have joined the Oneflare business, and will form the company's Melbourne presence.

Lim said that he hopes the acquisition of WOMO will strengthen the Oneflare platform in a bid to see it become the "most trusted source for local services in Australia".

Already, Oneflare has seen over AU$100 million worth of jobs requested by users, in over 200 job categories across several industry sectors.

In October last year, Oneflare secured AU$1 million in its second round of funding, bringing its total investment capital to AU$1.5 million, with the company's founders eyeing the possibility of a UK expansion.

WOMO CEO Fiona Adler, who co-founded the reviews site with Brad Bond in 2007, said that joining the Oneflare team would be beneficial for Australians looking to find trustworthy and quality businesses.