Earlier this week Nextdoor introduced two new features, both of which are intended to support members during the coronavirus crisis. The first is Nextdoor Groups; the second is Help Map, which allows people in an area to indicate whether they need help or whether they’re available to help others who may need it.
Coronavirus driving adoption. Groups pre-dates the COVID-19 coronavirus, but the company’s blog post says, “We were still only beta testing Groups in neighborhoods, but there was a sudden flood of them forming organically; the number of groups created on Nextdoor in response to Covid-19 has doubled each day over the past week.”
In my area some of the more colorful groups include:
- Tenants with slumlords
- Dark-side human nature talks
- I’d eat that — food experimenters
- Mycology and mushroom ID
- Zero plastic zero waste
- Complaining and venting
- Surviving quarantine
Nextdoor sees Groups, right now, as a tool to help overcome the isolation of social distancing. It added that organizing local volunteers is a popular group category at this moment of social upheaval.
Help Map is a more explicit tool to address neighbors in need. The Help Map in my area was unpopulated but there hasn’t been much member communication about it yet.
Nextdoor Help Map
Earlier this month, Nextdoor also launched a dedicated, free app for public agencies, which is intended to enable public officials and first responders to reach “verified members who live within relevant service areas.” It was developed by the company in response to requests from these agencies.
Why we care. Nextdoor is perhaps the most interesting company in local right now because it’s still evolving on its way toward an eventual IPO. It operates in 11 countries with coverage of roughly 250,000 local neighborhoods. Although there’s been no new data released, anecdotal evidence suggests that the virus is causing more people to join the site.
Nextdoor is turning into a mix of Facebook, Yelp and Craigslist with a heavy helping of neighborhood watch thrown in. (Incidentally, Amazon’s Ring is trying to build a neighborhood social network among owners.) It recently introduced a Local Deals ads product and is accelerating monetization of its audience and traffic.
But this moment for Nextdoor is about the coronavirus and the things that the company can do to help users and business owners during the crisis. And it may turn out to be a kind of breakout moment for the site, which has built a massive audience substantially under the radar for most brands and marketers.
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