Nextdoor updates its app to allow businesses to link to fundraisers, gift cards and more

Neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor is rolling out a few changes focused on supporting local businesses. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses to close their doors, sometimes for good, while others are struggling to stay afloat. As a result, many Nextdoor users have been posting on the app asking how they can help support their favorite businesses during this time. These new updates will allow them to do just that — by buying gift cards from local businesses, donating to fundraisers or shopping from a business that remains open by way of pickup or delivery.

Buying gift cards from local merchants has quickly emerged as an easy way for customers to help their favorite restaurants and other businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

New sites, like and, have launched in recent days to make this process more organized. OpenTable’s gift card marketplace waived its fees. Meanwhile, other efforts had their hearts in the right place but flubbed the execution — as with Yelp’s disastrous implementation of a GoFundMe integration that didn’t allow participants to easily opt-out.

On Nextdoor, however, the app is simply being updated to allow the local businesses themselves to direct users to whatever websites or fundraisers they already have running.

For example, in the Business Profile section, the local merchant can now add a gift card website address to their profile. When Nextdoor users click the link, they’ll be directed to the page the business has set up for selling gift cards.

Even if the business doesn’t offer online purchases, it could simply add a page to its existing website that instructs users how to buy the gift card from them — perhaps by calling the business on the phone or reaching out on social media.

In addition, if the business is running a GoFundMe campaign, they’ll now be able to include that link in the “Story” section of their Nextdoor Business Page for Nextdoor users to see.

Their Nextdoor Business Page can also now be customized with their available take-out and delivery options, which is particularly useful for dine-in restaurants that just started offering to-go meals or delivery for the first time, but haven’t partnered with a larger delivery service like DoorDash, Grubhub or Uber Eats.

In addition, businesses that have been voted as a “Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite” by the community will also now be able to post to the main Nextdoor news feed. Here, they can share updates to their hours, services offered or operations, which will be seen by a larger number of users.

Nextdoor has also added a Coronavirus Resource Center to help local business owners get updated news, information and actionable business advice in one spot.

The changes come only a day after Facebook launched Community Help for COVID-19, which allows local community members — including Facebook Pages used by businesses — to both offer aid and request assistance. But posts about supporting your favorite restaurant could easily get lost amid more critical calls for medical supplies needed by area hospitals or food banks in need of volunteers.

On Nextdoor, local businesses may instead find a smaller, but more targeted audience, where their real-life neighbors and customers are already engaging with one another.

This isn’t the first COVID-19-related update Nextdoor has rolled out. The company previously updated its app to include a Help Map for neighbors offering to help one another or in need of help themselves.

Source: Tech Crunch

A former chaos engineer offers 5 tips for handling online disasters remotely

I recently had a scheduled video conference call with a Fortune 100 company.

Everything on my end was ready to go; my presentation was prepared and well-practiced. I was set to talk to 30 business leaders who were ready to learn more about how they could become more resilient to major outages.

Unfortunately, their side hadn’t set up the proper permissions in Zoom to add new people to a trusted domain, so I wasn’t able to share my slides. We scrambled to find a workaround at the last minute while the assembled VPs and CTOs sat around waiting. I ended up emailing my presentation to their coordinator, calling in from my mobile and verbally indicating to the coordinator when the next slide needed to be brought up. Needless to say, it wasted a lot of time and wasn’t the most effective way to present.

At the end of the meeting, I said pointedly that if there was one thing they should walk away with, it’s that they had a vital need to run an online fire drill with their engineering team as soon as possible. Because if a team is used to working together in an office — with access to tools and proper permissions in place — it can be quite a shock to find out in the middle of a major outage that they can’t respond quickly and adequately. Issues like these can turn a brief outage into one that lasts for hours.

Quick context about me: I carried a pager for a decade at Amazon and Netflix, and what I can tell you is that when either of these services went down, a lot of people were unhappy. There were many nights where I had to spring out of bed at 2 a.m., rub the sleep from my eyes and work with my team to quickly identify the problem. I can also tell you that working remotely makes the entire process more complicated if teams are not accustomed to it.

There are many articles about best practices aimed at a general audience, but engineering teams have specific challenges as the ones responsible for keeping online services up and running. And while leading tech companies already have sophisticated IT teams and operations in place, what about financial institutions and hospitals and other industries where IT is a tool, but not a primary focus? It’s often the small things that can make all the difference when working remotely; things that seem obvious in the moment, but may have been overlooked.

So here are some tips for managing incidents remotely:

There were many nights where I had to spring out of bed at 2 a.m., rub the sleep from my eyes and work with my team to quickly identify the problem… working remotely makes the entire process more complicated if teams are not accustomed to it.

Source: Tech Crunch