On May 12, 2012 The New York Times posted an article “Meet Your Neighbors, if Only Online” detailing Nextdoor.com, a social network for the local neighborhood you live in.  The site provides forums for members to communicate, a house by house map, a classifieds section, and a database for neighbor recommended local services.

To join one of Nextdoor.com’s local networks new members must provide proof of address, either via a current member’s confirmation, or a $.01 transaction to a credit card registered to a local address.  Interior pages are private, listed information does not appear on search engine results, and there are currently no advertisements on the site.

The site seems to be competing with a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Craigslist, and LinkedIn.  The article notes that advertising on the site has already become somewhat of a hot button issue, with some users for and some strongly against its inclusion.  Much like Living Social, Nextdoor.com plans to enlist local businesses to provide members with special offers unavailable elsewhere.

The Nextdoor.com platform makes sense, as it combines products/services currently provided by a variety of social media sites.  It has started by building a social network for your local neighborhood, but seems like it could easily grow and essentially take all aspects of a small town or community online.

A few questions to consider:

  1. If Nextdoor.com adds advertising, will Facebook see the site a direct competitor, and therefore pursue its acquisition?  Where Instagram provided competition via photography sharing users, nextdoor.com seems to be competing with Facebook by focusing on a local community network.
  2. If not Facebook, will any of the other social media platforms see Nextdoor.com as a direct competitor/acquisition target?
  3. Is Nextdoor.com bad for building a sense of neighborhood community?  Professor Robert Sampson (Harvard – Sociology) sees neighborhoods as a “network of acquaintances” “who share a working trust”.  Will the ease of communicating with neighbors via Nextdoor.com facilitate that network, or deteriorate those unique relationships previously forged through proximity, familiarity, and day-to-day interaction?
  4. Exclusivity, the requirement that members live in the neighborhood seems to be the site’s selling point.  However, Facebook eventually abandoned this approach, opting for maximum growth instead.  Will Nextdoor.com face this same decision in the future?

Matt Dunne

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “

  1. Not only does Nextdoor.com pose a threat to Facebook, but it sounds as if it will compete with most dating sites as well as Living Social and Groupon. If Nextdoor.com can help people develop a network of friends, who’s to say it can’t be a forum for fledgling relationships and neighborhood deals. As long as addresses are kept private, it sounds like Nextdoor.com will become big in no time.

  2. Not only does Nextdoor.com pose a threat to Facebook, but it sounds as if it will compete with most dating sites as well as Living Social and Groupon. If Nextdoor.com can help people develop a network of friends, who’s to say it can’t be a forum for fledgling relationships and neighborhood deals. As long as addresses are kept private, it sounds like Nextdoor.com will become big pretty quickly.

  3. I’m not sure NextDoor poses much of a threat to Facebook, or any other social site. Namely because I’m not so sure people have a burning desire, en masse, to get to know their neighbors beyond a superficial relationship. The nature of the platform sounds doesn’t sound like anything new and exciting, especially since Facebook does offer closed groups for users. With respect to Prof. Sampson, I think our old physical neighborhoods have been replaced by online neighborhoods, made up of our friends (and sometimes family).

  4. NextDoor.com seems to be currently aimed at local communities and it has the potential to become more widespread. However, I still don’t think its a threat to Facebook. Facebook is a global sharing site and so much more. Someone in NY is not going to be recommending a plumber to someone in Hong Kong on NextDoor! I think there is a place for both sites, NextDoor is more of a niche product/service. I think it could actually help neighbors to get to know each better at the end of the day. It’s a good start to getting to know your neighbor in a society where people don’t really know much about their neighbors.

  5. I believe if nextdoor.com develops as much as they are aiming to, they will be a competitor to facebook, but with a good advantage over facebook. It appears that people like the interactive, social and constant connections with friends on many social media sites. Nextdoor.com will accomplish this and provide people with the satisfaction of quickly and easily communicating and having functions outside the network with their neighbors. This is a good way to get to know who lives next door to you, increase your internet social skills, and keep your physical interpersonal skills up to par. Some people tend to lose the person to person connection when they only use cyber space to communicate, and I believe if you are communicating online with you neighbors, one might be more incline to just hang out.

    About the site:
    I looked at the website for my area, it appears no one has signed up yet. But I thought it was interesting that the website said they would let you know when someone from your neighborhood signed up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s