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NeighborGoods, a web site that lets you share stuff with people in your neighborhood, today is launching publicly in its first city, Los Angeles. It’s somewhat of a cross between Facebook and Craigslist. For example, if you need to borrow a power drill for a home improvement project, you can search for someone in the NeighborGoods community who’s willing to lend one. L.A.-based founder and CEO Micki Krimmel said she was inspired by sites like Craigslist and Freecycle. She hopes NeighborGoods will help people connect with others in their area and encourage them to borrow — rather than buy — things they plan to use once.
The site lets people charge for the use of their stuff or offer it for free. However, if you plan on earning money from the site, you have to upgrade to a Pro account. For now, people who sign up for an account get one year free. Krimmel will start charging for it once she decides on a price point. If you’re a Pro account member, you’ll receive a “verified” stamp on your profile, which shows that the NeighborGoods team has confirmed you’re a real person who lives in the area you say you do.
When you’re putting an item up for rent on the site, you can choose whether your friends, neighbors or anyone on the site can see the listing. If someone doesn’t return an item you loaned out or returns it in poor condition, you can click on a “panic button” that notifies NeighborGoods of the problem and puts an unresolved transaction alert on the person’s profile.
Krimmel has received $100,000 in funding from a former client and will be looking for more investors as she rolls the site out to other cities. It’s too early to say whether the site will be a hit, but it touches on the social-networking trend and could piggyback off the success of Craigslist. Krimmel will be profiled in next month’s Oprah Magazine.