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Every conceivable kind of content that we consume on the internet today comes with explicit social networking markers.
Today with over 1000 Social Networking sites known to exist globally and 16 virtual communities with more than 100 million active users to date, Social Networks/ Virtual Communities have truly changed us and as also our definition of SELF(!). For most of the activities that we partake in our daily life like work, sports, hobbies, shopping, travel, dine, drive, and the list goes on, there is a virtual community / social network for each if it.
Now a social network built exclusively for local neighborhoods – called NextDoor is in the news for stepping into the elite territory of start ups. On NextDoor.Com, each neighborhood is a closed social network where users have to verify their real name and address to gain membership. Once we are in, the idea is to be able to connect with our neighbors, strike conversations, while finding out everything from local deals, finding nearby help or even be alerted of neighborhood crime.
Developed on the insight that The Neighborhood has always been one of the “original social networks”, it has recently raised $60m fundraising led by John Doerr, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers partner who led the IPOs of the likes of Amazon and Netscape and Tiger Global Management – prominent VC firms. (source)
This latest round of fund raising values the company at nearly $ 500 m as NextDoor.Com is slated to expand to more than the currently listed US neighborhoods on its site. Nirav Tolia, co-founder and CEO of Nextdoor, says there was already “incredible demand” abroad and goes on to say..
“We see this whole notion of building safer and stronger communities is not an American thing at all, it is something all people share”.
What I really like about the idea of a Neighborhood focused Social Network is the degree of relevance that can finally be attributed to the potential ads that can be placed in the network and the ways in which it can benefit all the players in the equation:
- The Advertiser: Businesses in the locality can micro target the ‘captive’ user base in the neighborhood via their ads while also nurturing a local community of customers on an ongoing basis. The biggest opportunity here is for the SMBs.
- The User: A user can find the most relevant offers from around her apartment rather than get bombarded by offers from across the country if not the world!
- The Publisher: The publisher can facilitate the precious need of SMBs in the locality to micro target and reach out to their customer base in a very cost effective way, while also being able to track and optimize listings on a real time basis.
It’s almost like combining the best parts of Yelp, Craigslist, Foursquare, Path and Facebook with a liberal dash of a local flavor. Like any other virtual community while it does come with its own privacy related nuances that need to be managed if it were to thrive across localities for the long term, one thing is nearly certain ..
We can finally get to know our neighbor. Albeit at least through the window of our screen.
PS: Two interesting things that you might want to check out: