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Quilt, an audio social network focused on self care, raises $3.5 million in seed

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The era of social audio 1.0 is in full swing, and while podcasts and Clubhouse have led the way, there are many other audio startups joining the fold. Quilt, an audio social network that focuses on wellness and community, has raised a $3.5 million seed round led by Mayfield Fund, with partner Rishi Garg joining the board, to do just that.

Quilt started as a community platform founded by Ashley Sumner, which let local folks meet up with one another in their own homes. Sumner was on the founding team at NeueHouse and has spent her career building community through physical space. Thousands of Quilt conversations were happening out of peoples’ homes until the pandemic struck in March, resulting in an existential crisis for the startup.

Sumner quickly moved Quilt over to Zoom but soon realized that video chat didn’t quite capture the magic that was happening in person, nor did it prove the right medium to foster the type of conversations that had made Quilt so special.

She worked to develop an audio app that would become the new Quilt 2.0, which went live in the App Store at the end of January.

Quilt allows anyone to start a room for a conversation, dropping a line or two of text to describe what they want to talk about. The app is focused on wellness, breaking rooms into three different categories: spiritual and personal development (with conversations around meditation, astrology, human design, etc.), career and purpose (“it was very important to link purpose to it,” said Sumner, “these aren’t networking events”), and relationships, sex and family.

Quilt

Image Credits: Quilt

The platform has put specific focus on balancing the engagement levels of content creators and consumers. According to Quilt, 98% of hosts attend other hosts’ conversations and more than 50% of Quilters talk during any given conversation.

Garg, who has spent nearly two decades in the emerging media space, talked about how the engagement ratio among creators, consumers and “bystanders” is different for each social platform based on the medium and product choices.

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“With YouTube, the famous number was 1% create, 9% engage and 90% sit back,” said Garg. “At Twitter, interestingly, it was 10%, 30%, 60%. If you look at something like Clubhouse, you’re seeing that parallel already happen. It’s like celebrity central. Part of what got us excited about Quilt was that anyone could just start a room. We really focused in on the pathway between being a consumer to being a creator. Starting or hosting a room is shorter than on any other social media platform.”

He added that the norms within the Quilt community are a big part of what makes that possible, saying there is a hurdle associated with platforms that are more celebrity-driven or top-heavy. Consumers look at the bar that is set by the community and feel they’re not famous enough, or don’t have a big enough community to contribute, he said.

“Part of the magic of Quilt is that everyone can feel like they have something to offer,” Garg explained. “I think it’s a lot more scalable and a lot less fragile than an ecosystem built entirely on celebrity.”

Retention also seems to be strong in Quilt’s early days, with 80% of sign-ups coming back for conversations every week. The company also said that around 60% of conversations are started spontaneously, rather than being a planned and promoted “event.”

Sumner says that Quilt will never generate revenue through advertising, but rather employ a freemium model.

Existing investors such as Freestyle VC’s Jenny Lefcourt and Upside Partnership’s Kent Goldman and Christina Hunt also participated in this latest round, alongside new investors, including Houseparty CEO Sima Sistani, The Mini Fund’s Eros Resmini (also former Discord CMO), former Knotel head of marketing Allison Stoloff and others.

The Quilt team is currently made up of eight people, 50% of whom are female and 25% of whom are non-Black people of color. Twenty percent are LGBT and 10% are non-binary.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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