Could Nextdoor Provide Social Media Redemption for Google?

SMB local

Following an $8 million second-round funding announcement by SMB network Alignable I wrote a post on the LSA blog asking, “How Will Facebook and LinkedIn Respond to the Rise of Local Networks Nextdoor and Alignable?”

I compared Alignable to LinkedIn (B2B) and Nextdoor (B2C) to Facebook. I speculated about which of those two established social sites would buy the younger networks. It didn’t immediately occur to me that Google would potentially acquire one of the two.

One of the comments on the post raised this question: “Why not let Google throw in their hat as well! After all, it does want to get more local, fight Facebook for some space and has the resources to get Nextdoor.” It’s an obvious and fascinating point.

Google+ is being de-coupled from local (and other things) causing people to pronounce it dead. I wouldn’t go that far but its influence is certainly diminished. David Mihm in the 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors commentary says, “With the removal of links to Google+ pages from Maps and even from the primary SERP, the always-awkward integration between Plus and Local has now been completely severed.”

Google bought Waze for more than $1 billion for its crowdsourcing data and traffic capability but equally to keep it out of the hands of Facebook, which had been in acquisition talks with the company. Facebook is a potential acquirer of both Alignable and Nextdoor, which could eventually rival Facebook for SMB engagement if it continues to grow.

Facebook must closely watch Nextdoor, which offers more limited but potentially valuable use cases, and will undoubtedly consider how to react to it — including potentially buying it. That also means that Google will need a position on Nextdoor.

Nextdoor might turn out to be an awkward fit within Facebook because of some degree of overlap between the sites, though arguably that’s also true of Instagram and that’s turned out fine. But with the demise of Google+ Nextdoor could represent a redemption path back into social media, designed by someone else with established momentum.

I suppose that Google could always seek to buy Twitter, its new bestie. However Nextdoor could be more strategic in a number of ways.

What do you think about the prospect of a Google-Nextdoor acquisition and its impact on both companies? Again this is raw speculation and not based on anything beyond that.


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2 Responses to “Could Nextdoor Provide Social Media Redemption for Google?”

  1. David Mihm says at

    I just don’t see this fitting with Google’s M.O. (even though I think it would potentially be a smart move for them). They just don’t do “social” well, and increasingly they’re looking to move away from things like conversations and community and more into structured data, semantic intelligence, and knowledge cards. To the extent that local conversations would give them more data to put into knowledge cards, Next Door would be useful, but they’d never be able to run it well as a stand-alone, or even integrated, social property IMO.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    Under their Alphabet structure it might work better as a semi-autonomous entity. But agree that “culturally” they’re challenged around social.

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