The new neighborhood
One of the most blogged about new social networks in 2013 is built upon a true original. NextDoor is gaining hyperlocal traction via a new/old strategy of connecting neighbors behind a very strong gate. The NextWeb blog provided a good overview of how NextDoor works, including a sign-up process that is intentionally friction-heavy. Unlike most networks there is very little doubt about the real world identity of the NextDoor user, and those users can only network within their own neighborhood or those that are contiguous to their own.
Hyperlocal has provided some difficult turf for marketers and TechCrunch took a sobering look at the challenges facing NextDoor. Still, NextDoor has had no problem gaining attention or financing, and existing local media have helped to create a truly viral environment. GigaOm best expressed why so many are watching NextDoor closely, feeling that it has created a powerful mix of local news and networking, with the labor intensive sign up process resulting in a very high signal-to-noise ratio. The site is expected to develop at a much slower than internet pace, and security is obviously key. Which could be a problem since CEO Nirav Tolia has already received some bad press for bending facts to meet his objectives. Which is not a neighborly thing to do.