This week, the San Francisco startup Nextdoor released what it’s calling “the first private social network for neighborhoods.” The service is free and only available within the U.S. The dinero for the whole shebang is being provided by Shasta Ventures, Benchmark Capital, and other private investors, including Rich Barton. Nirav Tolia, Nextdoor’s CEO and co-founder, had this to say about the network:
We “friend” more people than ever and “follow” strangers we’ve never met, yet we don’t have a good way to communicate with the people who live right next door … There are many ways our neighbors can help us, but these days people don’t know their neighbors, or how to contact them. Nextdoor was created to change that.
If a Nextdoor website already exists on your block, you can join on the spot by submitting your home address. If there’s no extant network, then it’s necessary to apply for one. Nextdoor says that it does not share users’ personal information “with any third parties,” but even content that’s “password-protected” and not indexable by Google’s mighty crawlers can end up on the public Web. Nextdoor promises to open up bridges of communication between neighbors, but those living in places populated by hardened gossips might want to think twice before willingly providing even more yammering ammunition to these.