Momsters and Local

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.I’ve written a fair amount about women, moms and how critical these segments are to e-commerce, social networking and local in particular. The mother of all moms sites (so to speak) is the Berkeley Parents Network. (There are other, similar sites around the country.) A kind of cousin of Craigslist, BPN is widely used, trusted and drives real leads to local businesses. The catch is: there’s no monetization whatsoever.

Both Judy’s Book and InsiderPages closely studied and borrowed from BPN. And a majority of their usage came from “moms.”

In the last six months numerous social networks and community sites targeting women and moms have arisen. I won’t try and name them all here because inevitably I’ll forget one or two of them. Let’s just say it’s now a crowded segment.

Most recently, Mom Junction, which launched in November, announced that it had received $1.5 in Series A funding:, the best way for moms to communicate, coordinate and connect on the Web, announced today the close of an initial funding round, which has been led by prominent media and technology investors, including PointRoll, Inc. CEO Christopher Saridakis and founder Jules Gardner, and world renowned entrepreneur Pat Croce.

I would imagine that there will be a couple of winners in this space. Like MySpace or Facebook, a “network effect” will take place when one or two of these sites gets to some sort of critical mass.

From a local point of view, these sites are about local but not just about local. There’s advice and information about life and family that doesn’t have to do with a particular DMA. But there’s a great deal that inevitably will involve local markets: doctors, preschools, events for kids, travel and so on.

The identity of being a parent helps create the incentive to participate and the content and community drives usage frequency. The community also creates loyalty and trust. All this is fundamentally different than a straightforward local directory site, which typically feels highly anonymous by comparison — and therefore less trustworthy. And trust = time savings/efficiency for today’s stressed out parents (I’m  one of them). 

So, to answer my own question from my last post: can independents succeed in local? The answer may be if they come at it from an angle like parenting.

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