Thursday, March 18, 2010

What is BeNeighbor.ly?

A lot of people have been asking "what exactly is BeNeighbor.ly?" ... here's how I've been explaining it to people...

BeNeighbor.ly is all about community. It uses hyper local geo-location to bring together people who might need something with people who can help. It's like FarmVille for Real Stuff. Imagine you are staying in a strange city and you forgot to pack hair gel. There are literally thousands of people staying at the same hotel as you but who do you ask for help? In today's world you might just tweet "I forgot hair gel, this sux" and your network might read the tweet and go on with their day. BeNeighbor.ly would use your social network to encourage someone to help you out, and make your day.

That can mean many things. It doesn't have to mean a fellow hotel guest knocks on your door with gel in their hands, it might be someone back home calling up the hotel and having them deliver it to your room, or even something as simple as someone sending you a map to a nearby convenience store...

It becomes about encouraging people to surprise and delight other people, and rewarding those people who reach outside their network to pay it forward (a'la badges in Four Square).

Revenue might be achieved by getting local business to sponsor offers on the site like 2 for one offers, or free cups of coffee, linking into Amazon Wish Lists, or partnering with things like airlines for gifting of mileage plus miles and such. However, it is less about revenue than making everyone have a better day.

Right now BeNeighbor.ly is just collecting wishes and letting people comment on and rate them. In the near future the app will let you see wishes near you so you can respond to people nearby.

Imagine I'm at the office and want to grab a cup of coffee but I'm short $2. If someone were around the corner and could find me... we can go grab a cup together. Instead of asking someone to raise my virtual barn, or give me a virtual sheep - which cheapens the act of giving - it can bring real communities together.

Just today I posted on BeNeighbor.ly's alpha site that I wish I could find my gym card, a friend who knows someone at the gym saw it and said they would try to get the gym to waive the $10 replacement fee... that's the kind of simple thing that will make a persons day. It sure made mine!

So I encourage you to go Make Someone's Day!

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