Location-based social networks like Foursquare and Yelp have proven incredibly popular in recent years, but while the big guys duke it out for platform supremacy, a new location-based start-up called LocalBlox is quietly, but quickly, gaining steam with its own unique spin on this aspect of social media.
LocalBlox is a Seattle-based start-up, best described as a new national hyperlocal neighborhood service. It is now coming out of beta, combining elements of Path, Foursquare, Groupon, and Manta.com, to create neighborhood destinations including local business directories, hyper local news, events, photos, job listings, neighborhood alerts, neighborhood user profiles, and chat.
Since launching from beta, LocaBlox has added content and business profile aggregation tools, affiliate platform tools, and advertising and social media platform technologies. Thus far, LocalBlox includes over 77,000 neighborhoods and 23 million business listings. The service boasts an average of 200,000 unique visitors a month, and 300,000 opt-ins.
We asked LocalBlox founder and CEO Sabira Arefin a few questions about the service, and how it stands up to and apart from its competitors.
SND: What sets LocalBlox apart from your biggest competitors? In other words, what unique element do you bring to the table?
Sabira Arefin: LocalBlox stands at the intersection of Nextdoor, Foursquare, Groupon & Manta. We combine the best of each of these into our neighborhood context to build a truly hyperlocal neighborhood community experience on the web & mobile.
Unlike most social networking sites, LocalBlox connects neighborhoods.
LocalBlox is a hyperlocal content aggregator with an integrated local social networking and mobile platform that serves two main user groups: neighbors & businesses.
Consumers can find things locally and engage in social dynamics via our web and mobile platform. LocalBlox offers an enriched user experiences for the neighbors by creating a hyperlocal community experience with a neighborhood wall, neighbors’ profiles, neighborhood business & service directories with aggregated resources & local reviews, local jobs & services, events & community connections etc.
LocalBlox is a “Kayak” for neighborhood and neighborhood businesses. People don’t have to go to many different sources to find information about their neighborhood. LocalBlox aggregates and updates neighborhood real-time so the users get updated news, neighborhood alerts, events, message from neighbors. When it comes to finding a local business or service provider, users can see the aggregated view, real-time score for that business based on online reviews, directory ratings and social media activities. Also, we have built the aggregation technology which makes it possible to generate the most comprehensive view into the profile of a local business.
LocalBlox has a self-serve platform for small businesses. We provide a complimentary ad to small businesses in their neighborhood to help connect and build long term relationships with their local customers. Additionally the firm offers hyperlocal directory listings, enhanced profiles and search engine exposure through integrated social networking, social bookmarking and top listing services, mobile ads, geo-targeted voice mail to reach all local businesses, local B2B Networking, and event marketing services.
SND: Is your biggest concentration of clientele local (the Seattle area) or is it pretty evenly spread nationwide?
SA: It is spread nationwide. We have focused on building a scaled platform. It also works at the city level worldwide.
SND: In terms of social networking, how are you reaching out and engaging with users in a new way, perhaps even better than your rivals are?
SA: LocalBlox brings the old school communities back in today’s social networking, & mobile era by connecting neighbors on some core human values – love, help, appreciation and recognition. LocalBlox works to empower businesses to connect with local customers using integrated local social media and mobile solutions.
What makes us unique, besides is the way we humanize the technology and connect neighbors, is that we reward users with merit points that are redeemable by local merchants in forms of deals and discounts. Merchants also earn recognition for good reviews & community participation. In the past year, we had thousands of passionate neighborhood ambassadors to help build our neighborhood communities, as their passion keeps our start-up running. Besides, our platform in integrated with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and allows neighbors to share via social sites.
We have this unique combination of online and offline neighborhood affiliates “neighborhood ambassadors” who are active community members and engage in community building in real neighborhoods.
Unlike our competitors, our community building concept is based on connecting neighbors, small business and active community members, bloggers, realtors by a value exchange and by empowering businesses with a variety of integrated local social media and mobile & digital media tools.
SND: What are your goals for the next year or two?
SA: Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have along way to go. We plan to create a truly unmatched hype-local neighborhood community experience for our users with an integrated local social mobile (SoLoMo) approach.