Locally-focused Nextdoor aims to help neighbors meet, share recommendations and become more aware of safety. While mainstream social networks have become more location-aware, neighborhoods are finally benefiting from a dedicated site to increase communication.

Neighborhood-based social network could benefit local merchants


While the spread of social networks has done wonders for global friendships and former classmate finding, it has done little to encourage new and local relationships. San Francisco-based Nextdoor hopes to address this underserved area of human interaction with their neighborhood-centered site. To become a member, a visitor to Nextdoor.com enters and verifies their addres through a postcard sent to the home, a $0.01 charge to a credit card, or by phone. After this step appears a familiar social network profile layout with optional Facebook integration, and some locally relevant questions: how long they have lived in the neighborhood, what they love about living there, their hometown, etc.

Privacy-minded profiles are kept separate from other neighborhoods

The Nextdoor dashboard page includes a neighborhood map and posts from nearby members. It also shows the level of local adoption - for example, 8 of 1,340 Williamsburg-Northside households have joined at the time of this writing. Members can send invitations by email, postcard or by printing out flyers, as well as sharing a neighborhood link. Residents can access a neighborhood directory with opt-out detail, and choose whether to share their contact information or just general area and interests. SMS notifications are also an option - these alerts can be set to receive updates from neighborhoods on suspicious activities, missing children, natural disasters and local evacuations.

Local stores can get recommendations and potential high-value customers

Recommendations, classifieds, groups and other resources are given navigation bar space, which gives a potentially great spotlight to local businesses. Nextdoor may run local service ads according to USA Today, but the immediate benefit for businesses will be the Recommendations tab. The Recommendations page is organized in categories, and is currently the most popular category of Nextdoor user posts - about 26 percent of content is in this part of the site. With focus on their local customers, shops could benefit from patrons that are more likely to be repeat and frequent purchasers.