In addition to being a web developer, I’m also on the board of our homeowner’s association. This has been beneficial to our homeowner’s association, as we have had a web site for almost 20 years, as well as an email listserv, and in the past 10 years have added social media as well.
However, our HOA now finds itself competing for attention with a social media company called Nextdoor. It’s a wannabe Facebook that wants to link up neighborhoods in order to provide advertising capabilities for national and local businesses. It has had some success signing people up, but one of the ways they get this to happen is to have letters generated to households within a neighborhood, snail mailing them, inviting them to join that particular neighborhood’s Nextdoor community for neighborhood news and information.
These letters are created and sent by Nextdoor, but somehow they have acquired the legal right to use the name of a neighbor member and address as the signatory. In our neighborhood, there have been at least 3 different names used in the past 8 months. All real names and addresses. All the same letter.
For a homeowners association, that confuses members, particularly those that have been using the OFFICIAL website and email listserv for years and now think that this is some kind of OFFICIAL change. Their marketing is somewhat misleading, or at least so vague as to leave open for interpretation by the recipient.
Our homeowner’s association keeps getting asked if we are changing over to Nextdoor. This is an innocent question by members. But the answer is – and should be – staunch.
Nextdoor doesn’t care about our neighborhood, it only cares that it gets enough accounts in our 400+ home community to market businesses through their site. It also has been reputed to be a problem area for online bullying…
because there’s no neighborhood authority at all on Nextdoor. The primary authority is Nextdoor and the paying advertisers. And that just presents problems for official communication vehicles for a homeowner association.
Nextdoor is a headache that probably isn’t going away for our homeowners association (and others in a similar situation) so we have to use our email list and official newsletter to disavow them. I suspect we’ll see more homeowner associations do the same in the future.