Fatdoor: ‘Local Social Network for Adults’

Fatdoor logoThis morning fatdoor launched (only in the SF Bay Area now, nationally later). Described to me by the founders as a “local social network for adults,” the site is a mix of maps (based on Virtual Earth’s API), individual profiles, business listings and other local information.

The site has compiled data from public records and other sources (a la Zillow) on almost everyone in the US. The idea is to have profiles that people show up to “claim” (though mine isn’t there this morning) and enhance. (This is MerchantCircle’s approach to local business listings.)

As you might expect, advertising is the business model.

The thing that makes fatdoor not just another local search “also ran” is its mix of features and local community focus. Founder/engineer/lawyer Raj Abhyanker says he wants to help neighbors get to know one another and offer fatdoor as a way for local community, school and parents groups to connect, organize and interact.

We had a long conversation about privacy issues and controls and fatdoor has taken pains to protect privacy and offer various levels of access tied to trust.

In the most successful version of fatdoor it becomes a hub for parents and neighbors to communicate and organize and for businesses to promote themselves in their local communities. The local, social-network nature of the site may also make self-service (advertising) more viable here than it would otherwise be.

One of the most interesting aspects of the site is the way that it tries to parallel the “real world.” For example, there will be a virtual “mayor” of fatdoor San Francisco and a virtual “governor” of California based on participation in the network and other factors. These individuals may be able to wield power and influence over the community (and potentially the real world) like actual politicians do.

When I got the demo on Friday I immediately saw the potential and a number of ways the site could immediately improve as well. Notwithstanding the “graying of MySpace,” the “momster” sites and Facebook’s local dimensions, no one has yet built exactly what fatdoor is trying to build: a broad social network for “adults” tied to location. (Yelp is a different animal than fatdoor.)

We’ll see if they successfully can.

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3 Responses to “Fatdoor: ‘Local Social Network for Adults’”

  1. Fatdoor Goes Alpha « eNeighbors.com Blog says at

    […] Per Greg Sterling’s blog, Raj Abhyanker of fatdoor indicates that their goal is to connect neighbors to each other specifically around things like local community, schools and families. […]

  2. districtofcontention says at

    I read this article with great interest because I came up with an idea to create a site such as this one some months ago. It’s interesting to see that Raj has found VC and I’m quite impressed that he has got CEO of PayPal and Intuit on the board – that’s really impressive. My partner and I are going to have to speed things up on our end if we’re going to live off the fat of this land some…hopefully there’s enough room in this town for two….

  3. LifeAt: ‘Private Social Network’ « Screenwerk says at

    […] the idea of getting to know your neighbors is something that Fatdoor has sought to help people accomplish, although I haven’t seen any movement on that front in some […]

  4. Fatdoor Gets Cash, New CEO from Yahoo! « Screenwerk says at

    […] my original post when the site launched. I wondered if the site could become a “social network for […]

  5. Elle says at

    “no one has yet built exactly what fatdoor is trying to build: a broad social network for ‘adults’ tied to location”

    I respectfully disagree. While not based in Silicon Valley, LouisvilleMojo.com has been a geo-targeted local online community in existence since 2003. With over 88,000 registered members, Mojo receives more page hits than any other online media outlet in the state, including MySpace and the city newspaper site. Metromojo has been in the business of powering local online communities for years, and we are passionate about the efficacy of geographically tied online networks.

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    This goes to the definition of “social network,” which is rapidly becoming meaningless because community is now a part of virtually every site. I applaud your success but I would still differentiate what you’ve built (or LouisvilleMojo if you’re not directly involved) from Fatdoor and its strategy.

  7. MerchantCircle Now Has Mayors Too says at

    […] before Foursquare emerged — I’m sure there are other examples too. Here’s what I wrote in Q1 2007 when FatDoor launched: One of the most interesting aspects of the site is the way that it tries to parallel the “real […]

  8. WhitePages Launches Two Neighborhood Search Tools says at

    […] companies including FatDoor (the precursor to Center’d and The Dealmap) have tried to build more local or — dare I […]

  9. Trademarkia co-founder and CEO Raj Abhyanker’s former startup the Dealmap sold to Google for a reported $30M – Trademarkia Blog says at

    […] before Foursquare emerged. I’m sure there are other examples too. But here’s what I wrote in Q1 2007 when FatDoor originally launched", Greg Sterling, Screenwerk blog June 23, […]

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