New social media site aims to connect Aussie neighbours

Nabo is modelled on a similar community-based social network in the US and aims to also connect local services providers with individual users

A new social network that aims to connects individuals with their neighbours and local community has launched in Australia today.

Nabo is a free social media platform created by former CEO of LivingSocial and co-founder of JumpOnIt, Adam Rigby. The platform aims to bring communities together to share tips and recommendations, interact with neighbours and community groups, and provide a local classifieds service.

Users are required to login using their street address and real name and have the ability to check out the site while Nabo verifies their details. Once approved, individuals and community groups will be able to connect with people, events and services in their local area as well as create their own community group, the company said.

The site has conducted a pilot program over the past two months across 19 suburbs in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Newcastle and said neighbours connected on a range of issues such as a fruit and vegetable co-op, garage sales and a local street clean up.

Rigby said research undertaken by Nabo of 1000 Australians showed a significant gap between individuals and their community. It found 58 per cent are not connected with their neighbours beyond chatting over the fence, and more than 80 per cent are unaware of community initiatives that could better connect them in their suburb.

In addition, less than 30 per cent were not connect with neighbours by phone or email, the report found.

“Up to now, it’s clear community initiatives and social media platforms have not succeeded in connecting people with their neighbourhoods: Less than 8 per cent of our respondents are connected with their neighbours on Facebook, for instance,” Rigby said.

Nabo has set a target of reaching a million users by the end of 2015, and to have 60 councils and 6000 local community groups and local authorities partnering with the site.

“We are working with local councils to enable them to use the platform to communicate with their constituents and we currently have some in Brisbane and Sydney piloting the program before we launch nationally,” Rigby said.

Much like its social media forebears, the Nabo site has not launched with a revenue model initially, raising questions around what its long-term commercial plans are.

Rigby told CMO Nabo has chosen to focus first on building its profile with local communities and residents.

“Following this, different commercial models will be investigated to determine which is the most appropriate for the site and enriching for the user,” he said. “It is likely the model will revolve around helping local businesses communicate with local customers.”

The company, which officially launched on 1 December, has modelled itself on a similar business in the US called Nextdoor.com, which was founded in 2010 and counts a number of Silicon Valley investors as backers, including Benchmark Capital, Shasta Ventures and Greylock Partners.

The US site is now operating across 45,000 neighbourhoods, or roughly one in four American communities, with at least 10 active users. It also has yet to introduce a commercial revenue model.

In a statement, Nabo said the US social network was recently credited by one US town for triggering a double-digit decrease in local crime.

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