Tuesday, October 16

The NextDoor Business Post Irony

local jax art
I'm sure the whole point of NextDoor limiting business posts is because the app wants neighbors to pay for advertising. It makes some sense, too, since I have tried to create community-run websites, and it ends up being all work and no money unless it's monetized somehow. But NextDoor taking down a local woman's post about Halloween hats kind of backfired (initially).

Apparently, some neighbors tagged the artist's posting as promoting her business. That's kind of understandable, since she's an artist posting about her art work. NextDoor took the post down, which also makes some sense, since there's some kind of no business policy. And if you're of the mind of live-and-let-live on this one, please imagine a neighborhood blog that's set up like Craigslist, allowing the person who posts about his business the most to win. I don't think we really want a neighbor message board to be filled with every sales party, realtor bio, and resume from every person living in the area. Anyhow, the posting was taken down.

Then, the woman who posted it decided to publicly complain about the posting being taken down. People agreed with her that others had way too much time on their hands and were basically harassing her for no good reason. In the thread, the OP also started adding in photos of the hats and other artsy items she had made and posted about. What this means is that she was able to pretty much post the same thing she'd posted before, and I wonder how long it will be before it gets tagged again as a business posting.

I have refrained from using NextDoor to promote my businesses. That's not the case for a competing web designer a few blocks from me. I didn't tag the post that I saw, but I was aware that it probably violated the intent of the app. The problem is that there are not great ways for small business owners to promote something cheaply. I've tried. If a small business owner from Jacksonville contacted me, I'd still have to charge something to put an ad on the site (or get something to review). I assume the artist was selling the hats and whatnot, not just offering them for free to others, even if it's a hobby and not her main business. My hobby is writing, but I'd like to make money on it, so it's still part of my business plan. I thought it was funny that the artist, in her letter to NextDoor, said she was an international artist, with her work in six countries. Every month, I get a check from Amazon for sales to Australia and the EU, so I guess I am an international writer. But when I write about Jax, I still want you to click on a link or hire me to build your website. It was also classic when some other lady, not realizing the artist's ego that had been unleashed, said, "I make crafts too," and then added some photos of her crafts.

Anyhow, I sympathize with an artist who has a garage filled with weird stuff people might buy for Halloween, and I hope she's able to sell the items at artsy prices. I can also see the problem with allowing every hobbyist or career-minded person post whatever they want on a neighborhood app, especially if there's a category for selling items or a model that seeks advertising dollars. Most of us probably don't read the terms of use when joining a website, but all the content we add to something that is not our own blog is subject to those terms. Basically, I cannot fault NextDoor on this one. Also, if the "ad" gets taken down again, it was not me reporting it.

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