If you’re more interested in connecting with folks in your neighborhood than folks around the world, have I got a site for you. Yatown is a new, hyper-local social media site that’s all about cluing you in to what’s happening down the street and around the corner.
It was created by Christopher Nguyen and Kevin Lim who both spent time with Google before moving on to other internet properties. Says Lim,
“We see our neighbors and wave at them all the time, but are limited to just a few houses nearby, and have no convenient way to connect with others who may know what’s going on with that downtown construction, or what that traffic jam was all about, or who’s the best plumber around. There is no easy way to announce a garage sale to the neighborhood online, no easy way to promote the school fundraiser other than using a mailing list and no easy way to reach out to the neighborhood and campaign for school-funding measures.”
The home page, which is light on charm at the moment, features a bulletin board for messages along with tabs for news, events and the profiles of others in your area.
The site uses a combination of both your stated address and your geo-location but in my case, it’s close but no cigar. I’m testing from home, but when I click “current location” it sends me to Laguna Beach. Perhaps it’s choosing my location in a more metaphysical “where I wish I was” sense, not a “where I actually am” sense.
The press release for the launch states that “80% of U.S. disposable income is spent within some 10 miles of the home.” To that end, the sidebar of the site has a drop-down for categories of services which returns a list of local results. The events area is also already being used to hawk a variety of local products and services.
The big hurtle for a site like this is trust and they know it. It’s one thing to put yourself on Facebook but another to put your real name and full address in a site that is designed to help your neighbors physically locate you.
Yatown says they imagine the site being used to help raise funds for schools, coordinate community projects, and spread the message come election time. It’s like Patch.com but with more people interaction and less news.
For local marketers, this could be an excellent way of reaching new customers if the site takes off. Right now, it’s in beta mode and it’s got a ways to go.