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TheCommon has launched to help people find other people to help them when they are in need. In its most basic sense, it’s a better version of Craigslist organized around communities and the verification process ensures trust. Groups like churches, missions, local groups create "communities" on TheCommon. Individuals must register to be part of a community to gain access to the system. Members add abilities to their profile and how far they are willing to travel to help. TheCommon will then provide the "needs" that match and you can either select to help or pass and another need will be displayed. Members who need something are unable to search for those with the abilities; the searches start with those with the ability in the location requested.
There are also facilitators and administrators. Facilitators manage needs and administrators handle the community management.
I spoke with co-founder Benjamin Gott who explained, "You’re account has to be approved in-person via an admin of your community, verified with a photo ID, before you can even use TheCommon. You can’t change you’re picture or name on the site without the help of an admin. We do that to ensure things are SUPER secure and safe, and that the members using the site are indeed who they say they are."
The system is very secure and so I can’t provide any specific screenshots for a community as I am not a member of that community. Some test account screenshots are below.
The current business model works on a $1/active user/month structure. So if you have 100 people in your community, and only 70 of them logged-in then the community will only be responsible for $70 that month. The first month is free and members can pay for themselves to help the community.
The concept is good and become popular but it’s a tad bit complicated to understand and my hope is that it can be simplified. I’d also like to see Facebook/MySpace/OpenSocial applications as an extension to allow for quicker growth and more matches.