The current crop of location-based social networks mostly focus on getting users to check in and share tips about local venues like restaurants, stores and coffee shops. DeHood, which officially launched earlier today, wants to bring a bit more value to its users by going beyond check-ins. The new location-based social network wants to bring a local community closer together by giving its users the ability to share news and information about deals at local shops and restaurants.
DeHood is currently only available for the iPhone (iTunes link).
Going Beyond Check-Ins: Local News and Deals
While the app allows users to check in at local venues, the focus of the app is on sharing information and helping users to discover local news and events. As the company’s CEO and founder Babak Hedayati told us last week, he wants people to be able to check the app first thing in the morning and feel informed about what’s going on in their neighborhood. This part of the app feels a bit like EveryBlock, though like many new social networks, the service currently suffers from a lack of users that contribute to the service (which, after all, only launched today). In Hedayati’s vision, regular users, as well as local officials, will soon post short, hyperlocal news updates about traffic jams, fires and deals at the local coffee shop.
Besides the utility aspect of the app, DeHood also features some game mechanics. When checking in at some places, DeHood will display a scratch-off game where users can win titles and find special offers for a product. One interesting aspect of DeHood’s shopping section is that users can alert others of deals at local stores and verify deals that already appear in the app.
Challenge: Getting Users
While DeHood definitely has great potential, the app currently suffers from the simple fact that it doesn’t have a lot of users yet. Given that other networks like Gowalla and FourSquare already have a lot of momentum (though not the feature set of DeHood), it will be hard for DeHood (and other companies that want to enter this space) to persuade users to switch networks and build up their social networks from scratch again.
That said, though, it’s important to note that DeHood plans to offer an API for developers in the near future, and, as Hedayati told us, that the company is not an app company but a platform company. Because of this, the app itself is only a part of DeHood’s roadmap, and we might just see other developers include DeHood’s functionality in other apps in the near future.