Nextdoor.com is a kind of social network for neighborhoods that this blogger thought had a lot of promise, and it still does if it can eliminate one glaring problem I’ll get to later below. First, who’s behind Nextdoor.com?
Nextdoor.com is an (at present) 30-person company based in San Francisco and according to Reuters raised $18.6 million from Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Greylock Partners and Shasta Ventures, placing the value of the company at more than $100 million. It’s co-founder and CEO is Nirav Tolia.
Nextdoor asks you to sign up and if your neighborhood is new to the website, get about 10 other neighbors to join a specially designed webpage for your neighborhood. Sounds good so far, but here’s the problem: in the identification phase, Nextdoor puts your address out there for the World to see. They say only neighbors can see it, but I can’t help but think that because the information’s on a webpage that looks searchable it can be found in a way they did not test.
I think the reason Nextdoor has added only 3,700 people in its 9-months of existence is because of this problem. The Nextdoor website explains that by asking for your address people know that you’re real. Well, fine but people just don’t feel real safe doing that.
In fact, if Nextdoor is do keen on having its users share their actual address, why don’t they put their own San Francisco address on their website? What’s the old saying? Practice what you preach, right? I can’t find Nextdoor’s address anywhere on its website. That’s hypocritical, to say the least.
I think it’s fine to have the address as part of verification info, but it’s not a good thing to have it plastered on a website or a map automatically and without an “opt-out” feature. I would think that at a time when Facebook has been under fire regarding data privacy concerns, Nextdoor would be even more sensitive to this issue.
So far, it appears they aren’t – by design.