A social network for neighbors? At face value that may not sound all too interesting but think about it from a homeowner’s perspective: your dog is lost and you want to post some signage, you are planning a garage sale and want to get the word out, or you want to find out if the neighborhood hoodlums are connected to the recent trend in car break-ins. For these reasons, and many more, you can understand why YaTown could be really useful for those in need of a neighborhood forum or network.
YaTown, which is still in beta testing, was developed by former Google creators to aid individuals in connecting with neighbors and staying updated on community news. YaTown was launched on May 11 in 192,000 neighborhoods and counting.
“Yatown was born out of our own frustration in connecting to our neighborhoods online,” said CEO of Yatown, Christopher Nguyen. “People have been trying to solve this problem through services like Ning and other build-your-own-social-network sites, or Facebook groups. These approaches don’t work for three reasons: they’re too much work to set up, too difficult for neighbors to find, and people do not associate existing sites with their geographic neighborhood.”
There are undeniably some kinks that still need to be worked out, like the “Current Location” search and gaining enough trust and credibility from users that they feel comfortable publicizing their home address. But YaTown could become a crucial factor in local marketing because of its hyper-social nature. 80% of U.S. disposable income is spent within some 10 miles of the home according to the CFO of Cox Interactive Media.
In fact, the YaTown interface features a drop-down menu with a list of local results for services homeowners would be interested in, such as auto repair, cleaning services, plumbers, and the like, and the Events tab is already being heavily used to publicize local businesses and services. Imagine if YaTown begins offering advertising placements or sponsorship opportunities! Next time the little league team has a baseball tournament you may just see a sponsorship from a local bakery, or a screen printing shop, or a diner for post-game celebrations.
Instead of tweeting or facebooking, think about yotting instead to close the divide between you and those individuals that are, for proximity sake, closest to you.