Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood? Nextdoor.com Wants You To Know

Our friends over at Sesame Street said it—sort of. Who are the people in your neighborhood, anyway? According to a 2010 survey by Pew Research Center, 28% of Americans don’t know any of their neighbors by name, and only 9% communicate with them via email. Those unfriendly statistics are something the folks at startup Nextdoor.com are hoping to change.

Think of Nextdoor.com as Facebook meets craigslist meets eVite meets Yelp meets Angie’s List—all within a free private social network that’s just for your neighborhood. Neighbors can use Nextdoor to ask questions (when is Trick or Treat?), request and share local service recommendations (does anyone know a trustworthy babysitter?), sell or donate items (looking to move one gently used Bowflex), and learn about and connect with their neighbors (who is the guy that always waves to me from three doors up?), thus creating a sense of community that will benefit the entire neighborhood.

"The site was built to leverage the fact that neighbors have a lot of the information you need," said Nirav Tolia, CEO of Nextdoor. "There are so many ways our neighbors can help us, but these days people don’t know their neighbors or even how to contact them." 

Nextdoor homepage

Privacy and security are two of the cornerstones of their business model. To be a part of a neighborhood, you actually have to live there. They individually verify each home address before granting access to a community. Every neighbor must sign in with their real name (also verified). And to provide a safe and secure platform, each Nextdoor website is encrypted using the HTTPS protocol. 

Nextdoor is already being used in 176 neighborhoods in 26 states, impressive growth considering it was done without the benefit of any marketing or advertising. All of their pre-launch growth has been the result of good old fashioned word of mouth referrals. And if feedback from existing users is any indicator, their list of neighborhoods is about to skyrocket with the announcement of their official launch.

"Since Nextdoor, our communication has become more frequent, open and helpful. We've seen lost pets returned in minutes; unwanted ping pong tables finding new homes in a matter of posts; and a heightened sense of security throughout the neighborhood when a recent crime wave hit," said Brent Bamberger, a member of a Nextdoor community in Orinda, CA.

In a rush to create connections with people from all over the world using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, somehow we forgot to connect with one of the original and arguably most important networks—the neighborhoods in which we live, work, and play. The folks at Nextdoor are hoping their new online community will help spark that neighborhood revival.

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[flickr user Scorpions and Centaurs]

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7 Comments

  • Tahquitz River

    "To be a part of a neighborhood, you actually have to live there. They individually verify each home address before granting access to a community. Every neighbor must sign in with their real name (also verified)."

    Actually this is incorrect. Verification is carried out by the neighbors (aka "Leads") who administrate the group, who are usually the neighbors who set the group up, and NOT by Nextdoor.

    Nor is it private. In a Nextdoor group I was a member of a real estate agent had access to the discussions which included concerns about crime. He was showing these to his clients who then decided that the neighborhood was "crime-ridden" and looked elsewhere.

    I analyzed the apparent membership of my group and found people had used false names, people who didn't live in the area signed up and people were double counted (thus inflating the apparent number of members).

    Nextdoor's privacy and security are only as effective as the random neighbors who set up the group make it.

  • lamyaimpala

    This is not just happening in the USA, its happening in Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, and Europe. Social media is tacking the challenge of getting neighbor to communicate together and produce benefit to all. Getting quality content is a challenge. Very easy to see the benefit for local businesses. Im sure there will be varying success between neighborhoods, from working perfectly well to not working at all. I guess if anything we will get to see which neighborhoods have people who are friendly and which neighborhoods have the least friendly people :)

    some other website offering neighborhood social connections http://www.neighborgoods.net http://www.neighbors.nz http://www.innwan.com http://www.i-neighbor.org

  • Privacy

    Too bad they don't check if you are a pedophile or criminal before they let someone on the neighborhood network - talk about an identity thief and criminal's pot of gold

  • Anneta

    Interesting concept. i read about My Virtual Neighbor on Forbes back in June about doing similar...they have raised no money and claim to be growing at rapid pace too..i signed up, they didnt ask for my home address, i was initially scared and had security concerns but it seems their privacy controls/verification process is cool as now i interst with around 10 people in my neighborhood.

  • Bobloblaw

    Good luck in getting your neighbors to sign up for this.  We've got 800+ people in my neighborhood.
    Two listserves have maybe 150 people total.  Neighborhood events draw maybe 250-350 people.
    Some of the folks on my street have no interest in participating much less even talking to anyone and even make a point of being unfriendly to everyone.

  • Jen Bonhomme

    "...and only 9% communicate with [neighbors] via email."

    Why would there be an expectation for people to email their neighbors? I would think if you wanted to tell your neighbor something you would talk to them in the street, stop by and knock on the door, leave a note in their mailbox, call or text them. Maybe even use Facebook, but email? Nice one PEW for reporting on a randomly invalid stat to signify community camaraderie and neighborhood friendliness.

  • michellegirlie

    Nextdoor is already being used in 176 neighborhoods in 26 states, impressive growth considering it was done without the benefit of any marketing or advertising. All of their pre-launch growth has been the result of good old fashioned word of mouth referrals. And if feedback from existing users is any indicator, their list of neighborhoods is about to skyrocket with the 
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