* Facebook-inspired company lets neighbors connect
* Nextdoor will eventually run local advertising
By Sarah McBride
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 26 The team behind
customer-review site Epinions.com launched another
community-based site Wednesday, but this time, for physical
communities rather than virtual ones.
Nextdoor.com allows neighbors to form online groups to
share information on details like babysitter recommendations,
leaf collection, and events in the community. The information
comes in updates, Facebook style, but also has tabs that allow
for easy retrieval of tips on things like good handymen or
items for sale.
Co-founder Nirav Tolia is betting there is room for yet
another social network. Just as people who use Facebook for
social reasons may also used LinkedIn for professional
reasons, neighbors want a separate service tailored to them.
"Your neighborhood identity is different to your social
identity," he said.
Far from contributing to social-network fatigue, the
existence of sites like Facebook would help boost interest in
Nextdoor, said venture capitalist Bill Gurley, a partner at
Benchmark Capital who is funding Nextdoor along with Shasta
"Pre-Facebook, people might not understand the concept," he
said. Nextdoor raised between $10-$15 million from Benchmark
and Shasta, enough to sustain the company for two to three
yaers, Tolia said.
Nextdoor has launched in a handful of neighborhoods around
the country on a trial basis, and Wednesday opened to all
neighborhoods around the country. The service is taking off in
some areas, such as in the tech-friendly Menlo Park, Calif.,
neighborhood of Stanford Hills, where 74 out of 78 households
are participating, Tolia said.
A burning discussion in Stanford Hills: what to do about
stray dog waste. "Short of testing the dog poop for DNA in
order to identify the culprits, we don't know what can be done
to fix this problem," one Nextdoor member posted.
The groups are open only to residents of a particular
neighborhood, and members must verify their residence, for
example by entering a code they receive on a postcard mailed to
their home address.
Eventually, the site will seek advertising from local
merchants to build revenue, Tolia said.