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Shelley Osterloh ReportingA Utah County dot-com is helping thousands of people across the country connect -- not necessarily for romance, but for hobbies, business or family relationships.
You might ask a friend who he goes to for car repair, or find that a friend of a friend enjoys a common interest like scrapbooking or surfing. Knowing someone who knows someone else, it’s often how we meet new people or business contacts.
Now people are doing just that on-line. Adam Legas owns a mortgage company that specializes in loans for those with poor credit or bankruptcy. He is married with three children. Christy Carpenter is single, a hair stylist, who recently moved to Utah. Both are looking to meet new people and are members of a new internet service called Friendstreet.com.
Christy Carpenter: "I’m not really looking for dating. Dating is okay, but I'm looking for friends. I just got out of a three year relationship and this is an awesome site to do it with."
Adam Legas: "For entrepreneurs it’s a great way to have another avenue to network with people who are potentially interested in either working with you or have your friends and acquaintances figure out what you do and how you can help them."
Here's how it works. When someone signs up, they provide a list of their interests. Each person creates several groups or neighborhoods --- one for friends, another for family, or business acquaintances.
They invite others, by e-mail, to join their virtual neighborhood. If their friends also sign up, they are asked to confirm their relationship to the inviter, a kind of security measure to protect against random or uninvited contacts.
The site's creator says you can privatize your neighborhood.
Jeff Crane, Founder, Friendstreet.com: "So the only people who can see other people in that neighborhood are the people you have invited. And that’s it. The other people can join a portion of your neighborhood that is very generic."
Plus, if you don't want someone bothering you, you can block them from your neighborhood. The invitation feature not only creates a rich web of contacts, it's also the key to Friendstreet's viral growth.
Jeff Crane, Founder, Friendstreet.com: "The goal is to create relationships with one person. That can create other relationships with other people."
Friendstreet.com has only been in operation for a few weeks and already Carpenter says she has gained a couple new clients and several new friends.
Christy Carpenter: "The people who I have met through it I enjoy a lot, and we remain friends."
Legas says he's corresponding through e-mail with several potential clients.
Adam Legas: "Quite soon I should have people who are actually clients of mine as a result of friendstreet."
The people at Friendstreet say they are on schedule to have about 10,000 members by the end of the month. It's free to join, but the company plans to add services later for a fee.