Why Nextdoor Fails to Attract More Customers

I signed up for Nextdoor a couple of years ago, and I have a few bones to pick with your policies and practices!

1. There’s no direct link on your website to contact your organization. If one is there, it’s well-hidden.

That’s a FAIL.

2. When I entered my address, it displayed my “neighborhood” as the fairly small apartment complex, thereby tying my name to a fairly targeted located. As I’m active online and there are crazies online, that’s a very BAD thing.

Another FAIL.

3. I did finally stumble across your Contact Us link. Amazingly, it lead not to a contact form but instead to another search engine.

Third FAIL.

ETA: I did finally find an actual contact form. The link to that should be at the bottom of every nextdoor.com page and it should take people straight there, not on a roundabout route through your website where the answers simply aren’t.

4. Your entire organization appears to be top-down driven. People very rarely actually enjoy it when others dictate to them “how things shall be.”

Instead, people thrive on Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Dan Pink’s Drive. He explains both the what as well as the why, backed up with studies from top universities.

Your top-down approach is demeaning and repugnant. The very fact you would even use this approach while refusing to consider the needs, wants, and desires of your potential customers paints you as smug, arrogant, condescending and demeaning.

Fourth FAIL.

5. In this day and age, anonymity and privacy are a must. Only four entities know where I live: Family, Friends, Bank, and Government. That’s the way I CHOOSE to keep it, thank you very much. Your website does not allow me to simply specify my general area, such as “Northwest City X” or even “Collection of Neighborhoods Near Y.” Instead, you require my exact address, which I choose NOT to reveal to you precisely because the last time I supplied you with my address, you displayed my “neighborhood” as the apartment complex, thereby pinning down my location for all the world to see to, quite literally, within +/ 402 feet.

Not exactly “private,” there, Nextdoor, so…

Fifth FAIL.

Now: I KNOW you want to improve. I KNOW you want to actually respect people’s privacy. I KNOW you’re not just data-mining my address so you can sell it to all those companies who send me junk mail…

If you believe these are higher levels of customer service to which your organization should aspire…

Some Constructive Criticism:

1. Allow safety/security conscious people to use first names only.

2. Allow safety/security conscious people to sign up with a general area, such as a nearby intersection or dropping a pin on a map.

3. Allow safety/security conscious people to specify the “radius of vagueness,” whereby you do NOT pin down their location with any more specificity than WE allow. That’s for OUR protection, not yours.

Respect your customers.

This is one area where you absolutely MUST respect your online customers, and almost certainly a reason more people haven’t signed up. In fact, statistics (below) reveal you could QUADRUPLE your customer base if you simply followed the three elements of Constructive Criticism, above.

People LIKE their privacy. All the assurances in the world aren’t going to counter the simple fact that you’re asking for people’s real addresses and their real, full names.

IN FACT, a Pew Research study on Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online reveals:

86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email, from avoiding using their name to using virtual networks that mask their internet protocol (IP) address.

55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government

Your entire business model runs counter to what We the People, your intended consumers, actually desire. You promise privacy and security, then turn around and demand full names and narrow down their location to small, specific neighborhoods.

Ever hear of Whitepages.com? That’s probably HOW some online crazies found me, but not through any activities online, except Nextdoor, which is the ONLY organization to pinpoint my location with any accuracy finer than “Colorado Springs.”

We the People do NOT want to give you our physical address, now do we care how many assurances you offer.

We do NOT want you to pin our location down to any dimension closer than what WE allow. In fact, that dimension should be OUR option, whether it’s 500′, a quarter mile, or even an entire mile.

We do NOT want to be forced to use our full names!

Seriously, Nextdoor, let me know when reality starts sinking in and I’ll stop…

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