You know how sometimes you see a tradesperson’s car outside your neighbour’s house, and wonder if that plumber/ painter/ lawnmower is any good….. but you forget to ask at the annual street BBQ a few months later? Or you need a local babysitter – not one you have to drive 30 minutes to drop home at the end of the night! Or you wonder if anyone has tried the new cafe that has opened up the road? Well, the solution is here.
What is it? Neighbourly is a free and private neighbourhood website that allows us Kiwis to easily meet and interact with our neighbours and community. It’s a bit like Facebook, but location-based to connect you with those people who live near you, rather than people you already know.
Joining is free, however all members must use their real name and have their address verified (similar to TradeMe’s address verification process). Members are grouped into suburbs created using boundary maps from the NZ Fire Service, local councils, NZ Post, Statistics New Zealand, and Land Information New Zealand.
How does it work? I took a poke around the website to see how members are using it. The neighbourhood I’m in has plenty of activity happening. There are new members joining daily, and a quick scroll through the posts reveal recommendations of window cleaners, some kids Countdown cards swapped, relocated dressmaker found again, an unwanted table sold, a local walking group established, a garage sale notice and a variety of lost (then found) cats. There are also posts from NZ Police, Civil Defence and Auckland Council – great to see these organisations participating in the online community. Urgent alerts can be received via text for time-sensitive updates from your neighbours on topics such as suspicious activities, missing children, fires, floods or other disasters, or local evacuations.
Weekends seem to be busier than weekdays, and the classified ads section offers a free alternative to TradeMe, with the benefit of not having to arrange pickup from someone living outside your area.
Privacy. But who can see all your information and details? Neighbourly gives you a few options to protect your privacy such as hiding your street number, and only showing your name, profile photo and suburb to people outside your neighbourhood. Additionally, they do stress you should not divulge any more information than you are comfortable with. Private messaging between neighbours is available and a comprehensive FAQ section answers many of your questions.
Surely there are ads everywhere, right? Privately funded, there are no plans for banner advertising by brands: “You will not wake up one morning and see banner ads, pop-ups, or messages from advertisers flooding the website”, however further business models will be developed in the future to generate revenue. Founders Shane Bradley and Casey Eden are expanding into Australia following the success of the New Zealand trial which started in February.
This has to be the best social network I have seen in quite some time. It’s highly relevant, incredibly useful, has a well designed website and is free to use. It is also mobile – download the iOS or Android app for your phone.
Sign up to Neighbourly here, and start meeting your neighbours! All suburbs are now open so invite your friends as well.
Vaughn Davis and I had a chat about it on his Radio Live Sunday Social Show – you can listen to the audio here.