MojoPages, a new social search venture, has adopted a documentary-style videoblog to build buzz around its forthcoming launch, while engaging users even before a beta website has launched, to help with aspects such as design and usability.

The website, which will rank businesses in line with user ratings, aims to improve on standard directory-style services such as Yellow Pages.

MojoPages is based around a simple idea: “Do a great job and people will say great things. Offer poor services and/or inflated prices and you will be judged on those criteria as well”.

The website will provide consumers with a platform for ratings, reviews and opinions on services and businesses.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Jon Carder, California-based MojoPages is scheduled for launch in early-December. Carder sold his previous startup, Client Shop, to Internet Brands in February for “millions of dollars”.

Carder himself had been the subject of a sly move by a removals firm, which held his television hostage until a significantly higher bill than the original quote was paid. This sparked the concept behind MojoPages.

The idea of using a videoblog to seed MojoPages in the minds of potential users is novel, and I guess this article is proof that it can generate a little PR. “As far as I know, this is the first time something like this is being done concurrently with the launch of an online business,” says Carder.

“We’re listening to users’ feedback and incorporating their suggestions,” he adds. The screenshot below is a draft version of the look and feel, which Carder invited users to comment on:

MojoPages, whaddya think?

“We’re allowing the community to help us build an environment, before our launch, so we can offer exactly what they want,” says Carder. Smart move, although such an open approach to product development is not without risk.

Carder claims that the documentary-style episodes of “30 Days to Launch” have so far attracted around 100,000 views. New episodes will be posted weekly.

Watch the first episode at the MojoPages blog.