Real Estate Meets Facebook with Geography Based Social Networking
November 20th, 2007

A lot of people are moving into the buildings arising from the soaring pace of residential construction throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. But most of them will know nothing about their neighbors as they move into the giant high rises that have been criticized as “vertical suburbs.” It was here that Matthew Goldstein realized there was a role that needed to be filled.

“People have a tendency to feel very uprooted and are afraid to go to people’s doors” when they move, he said. So, in attempt to foster a sense of community within large buildings, Goldstein created the social networking site LifeAt.

LifeAt offers the residents of hundreds of buildings around the city a password protected site where they can create personal profiles, talk with neighbors, post classifieds, and discover and discuss local services.

At 866 Eastern Parkway, a mixed use building with 57 condo units in a Hasidic enclave of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 35 residents have created profiles and use the network. They have publicly used the site to try and organize halloween parties, set up an art class, discuss concerns about where dog owners bring their pets to do their deeds, and engage in light flirting. (It also seems that quite a few residents have an addiction to the Nintendo Wii game console.) The building’s management uses the site to post news about the building.

Goldstein, a former television ad salesman executive, came up with the idea eleven months ago, and it has been growing ever since. “What was once a weekend idea for three months has turned into a bona fide business,” he says.

In two weeks, LifeAt will service 335 buildings nationwide, with 139 of them added within the past month. In New York, where 70 percent of the business’s buildings are located, 60 percent of them are owned and 40 percent are rentals. The smallest building LifeAt services is 42 units, and the largest, Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan, has 12,000 units. (Goldstein’s own building is considered too small, with only 16 units.) And in two months, residents will be able to interact with people from other buildings.

To entice local businesses to advertise on LifeAt and offer discounts to LifeAt buildings, they sell ads for only $10 a month per building. And to keep individual sites useful, an administrator attends to each one. LifeAt also encourages everyday people to get in the act of spreading the gospel by offering a ten percent commission fee to anybody who signs a deal with a building to purchase LifeAt’s services.

By on November 20, 2007, 10:05 am
In category: Community Development,Housing,nextNY,Tech | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Real Estate Meets Facebook with Geography Based Social Networking”

  1. LifeAt Blog | » LifeAt in the News | Residential Community News, Social Networking Trends & LifeAt Company Updates Says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    […] was featured in the Gotham Gazette this morning. Here is an […]

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