Friday, February 22, 2008

Invite a Neighbor!

We had (another) small release last night in which we pushed out a new feature to the marketing site. You can now easily invite a friend, neighbor or board member to take a look at

Just click on the new Invite a Neighbor tab, enter their email address and click the Send button. Super simple. If desired you can also customize the message by modifying the text in the Message box.

This would also be a great way to invite your neighbors to sign up for if your community is already setup!

Hope you find Invite a Neighbor useful! Thanks for stopping by and we will see you ‘round the neighborhood!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Community Search Update

We had a small release last night fixing a couple minor annoyances and a small but important change to the Community Search results page.

Previously the only navigation option available on the results page was the Join Now! button. This was intentional and designed to streamline the sign up process.

Given the wide range of technical ability of our user base, we continually strive for maximum simplicity throughout Unless we absolutely have to provide multiple choices and/or navigation paths we choose not to in order to provide a more simple and intuitive interface.

For this reason we made the decision not to provide a link to the community website on the search results page. We feared that members of our communities that are less technically adept might be thrown off by this and have difficulty completing the registration process.

With that said, we have had a surprising number of requests to allow users to preview their community website before registering so we changed the name of the community into a link to their website. This link opens in a new browser window so that users can easily complete the signup process when finished with the preview. A screenshot of the change is provided below.

This change will also allow users already registered that have forgotten or lost the web address to their community to easily view their community website without signing in.

We strove to provide a balance between simplicity/intuitiveness and usability. I think we succeeded and hope you agree. Let us know what you think and keep the feedback coming – we are listening!

Thanks and we will see you ‘round the neighborhood!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Community Events

Today I would like to take a few minutes and examine the Community Events feature of

Community Events was the second feature we implemented in (right after Community News) primarily because we knew how badly our own HOA needed it. Frequently there would be flyers for events posted on mailboxs that would either get:

1. Ripped off by the wind and litter the neighborhood or
2. Rained on, become illegible and look terrible.

Even if someone was able to read the flyer they rarely remembered to write it down once they made it back inside. Bottom line is the flyers weren't an effective tool in informing the neighborhood or getting the community engaged.

With these challenges in mind we went to work creating the Community Events feature. As always, our goal was to create a system that was simple and intuitive enough for anyone to use but useful enough to fulfill the goal of informing the neighborhood and increasing participation.

Viewing an event

When you view the dashboard for your community the next five community events are listed on the right hand side. You can also click the Calendar tab at the top of the page to view your upcoming community events.

From the calendar screen only the name of the event, location and partial description are visible. To view the event details user’s can either click the name of the event or the details link at the bottom.

In the event details page users are able to view all of the event information (event name, start date/time, end date/time, location and description), as well as add a comment (a great way to RSVP) or download the event to their local calendaring application (i.e. Microsoft Outlook) and set a reminder.

Adding an event

Adding an event is super simple and is much like adding an event to Microsoft Outlook or other calendaring application. Simply enter the name of the event, the start date / time, the end date / time, the location of the event and a short description. If it is an all day event (i.e. a holiday, garage sale, trash pickup, etc.) simply check the Add Day Event box.

Editing/Delete an event

If the user is authorized to edit an event, an edit link provided below the event description on the Calendar page.

The edit event page is almost exactly the same as the Add Event page with the exception of a Delete button. To delete the event simply click the Delete button and then click Yes when asked to confirm.

Event Notifications

When a community event is added to the system an email is sent to all users in the neighborhood that are subscribed to receive updates. This is a great feature because it enables users to stay informed without having to constantly remember to check the website. Instead they stay informed simply by checking their email – just like they already do every day.

By making it so easy for residents to stay in touch with the community you can increase community participation dramatically. Really that is what is all about. Leveraging technology to increase communication and build a sense community in your neighborhood.

Thanks and we will see you ‘round the neighborhood!

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Email Templates

Over the last few weeks you may have noticed a change in the emails recieved from Earlier this month we made quite a few updates to the templates we were using. The new templates are much, much cleaner and do a better job of drawing the focus where it needs to be - on the information about your community.

With the new templates we also provide more information. For example, the news and events notifications now include links to view the content in your browser or add comments. Also, the event notification now includes the date and location of the event as well as a link to add the event to your calendar.

Finally, we also updated the forgot password template. Previously this email created confusion for some users because the period ending the sentence occurred immediately after the new password. While gramatically correct, this caused some users to be unsure if the period was to be included as a part of the password or not. Now, the password is clearly set apart and should be much easier to use.

We worked hard to improve the usability of the emails and hope you like the new templates. Feel free to drop us a note and let us know what you think. Thanks and we will see you 'round the neighborhood!

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Comment Notifications

Last night we released a new feature for - new comment notifications. Now when a new comment is added to a news post or community event the author and any users that have added comments will receive an email notifying them that a new comment has been added.

Previously users had to remember to continually check the site to see if anyone had added comments which was a royal pain and not really conducive to facilitating communication. Hopefully these changes will provide a better means to engage the community. Let us know what you think!

Thanks and we will see you 'round the neighborhood!

January 2008 Stats

Quick stats update for the month of January 2008. now has 45 communities in 44 zip codes and 16 states! Angie has been pulling together a spreadsheet containing all of the different cities and states that we have communities in and/or have searched with their zip code. It is really interesting to see where all of the searches are coming from. From Alaska to Texas and Maine to Hawaii, has had a zip code search from 40 different states so far. We will let you know once we have hit them all.

Now on to the stats.

  • Number of users: 127 (+35%)
  • Number of contacts: 177 (+42%)
  • Number of groups: 23 (No change)
  • Number of news posts: 90 (+50%)
  • Number of community events: 106 (+125%)
  • Number of documents: 176 (+107%)

And from Google Analytics

  • Visits: 489 (-38%)
  • Unique Visitors: 333 (-42%)
  • Page Views: 3,181 (-33%)
  • Pages/Visit: 6.51 (+8.92%)
  • Time on Site: 4:19 (+30%)

First the good news. Community Events and the Document Library are taking off in a big way with both experiencing over 100% month over month growth. WOW! This is really exciting to see and hopefully it continues. Also of note, the average time on site increased by 30% which is also encouraging.

Visits and page views, on the other hand, went entirely in the wrong direction. However, it isn’t really as bad as it seems and was entirely expected. For one week in December we tried advertising on StumbleUpon and, while it certainly generated the traffic we expected, that traffic didn’t translate into new communities so we have pulled it – for now anyway.

Thanks to everyone for all of their interest and support. We finished 2007 building some great momentum and I am really looking forward to what 2008 will bring us!

See you ‘round the neighborhood!

More For Less

When we launched a little over two months ago we started with an admittedly limited scope of understanding in terms of the varying sizes and types of homeowners associations. really grew out of the recognition of problems our HOA - and similar HOAs in our area - were experiencing coupled with the lack of a viable solution in the market. We knew that if HOAs in our area were experiencing these issues then maybe we had an opportunity to help others around the country.

Two months later and nearly 50 communities strong we have come to recognize that, while there are literally tens of thousands of associations actively looking for a solution to these shared issues, unfortunately our pricing structure put help out of reach for a number of these communities.

Several of the associations we have talked to have expressed that they absolutely love the product and believe it could be of great benefit to their community but that it was either too expense or the limitations too constraining (i.e. not enough users without upgrading to the Unlimited plan) to be a viable option.

After careful consideration we are extremely pleased and excited to announce that starting today will provide much more for much, much less. Below are our new pricing plans and as you can see we have drastically reduced the monthly subscription rates while increasing the number of users and contacts. Please visit our pricing page for more information on each of these plans.

Free – Yep, still free.
· 25 Users
· 25 Contacts
· 1 Group/Committee
· 50 MB Document Storage

Basic - $19.99/month
· 50 Users
· 60 Contacts
· 3 Group/Committee
· 250 MB Document Storage

Standard - $29.99/month
· 100 Users
· 120 Contacts
· 5 Group/Committee
· 250 MB Document Storage

Premium - $39.99/month
· 200 Users
· 250 Contacts
· 10 Group/Committee
· 1 GB Document Storage

Unlimited - $49.99/month
· Unlimited Users
· Unlimited Contacts
· Unlimited Group/Committee
· 2 GB Document Storage

Our hope is that these changes will make even more accessible to the communities that need it most. Of course, all of our existing communities will be migrated to the new pricing structure and will see the reduced rates on next month’s statement.

We sincerely appreciate your support and welcome your feedback. Feel free to let us know what you think of the new plans or what you think of in general. We value your thoughts and enjoy getting the opportunity to know our users a bit better..

Thanks and we will see you ‘round the neighborhood!