Localized social-network services

Brian Dear has noticed a trend among new social network services (brianstorms weblog: Going Local):

There’s a lot of activity in the social-network-based local listings recommendations arena right now. Think “friendster meets epinions meets local.yahoo.com”.

InsiderPages and Judy’s Book are social networks (notice the emphasis on “friends helping friends”) geared at trusted recommendations of local goods and services. The hope is clearly that if your friends recommend something, you’re more likely to try it out than if some stranger posts a recommendation in a local message board, or the local newspaper or other media outlet recommends it.

I suppose that would be true. Question is: will people be willing to join yet another social network and drag all their friends over to these services?

Good question. That’s the Achilles heel of any new SN service.
I have some thoughts about how to keep the data in the hands of the users and make things more portable (not too different from the FOAF-approach Brian mentions in his article) but I need to sort through some of the ramifications of these ideas. Hey, that’s what the blog’s for! As Brain says of Judy’s Book CEO:

Andy Sack, its CEO, has a new blog where he’s going into amazing detail about the company’s financing (amazing as in, I’m surprised the VCs are comfortable with him outlining the day-to-day saga of how he got funded). Nevertheless– I’m really glad to see this openness and I hope it continues, and spreads.

When I get started, I’ll make a new category to frame out my ideas there. (Disclosure: I am also pitching this idea to a few existing business entities.)