FriendlyFavor Rolls Out Request Tool for Social Networks

Want to ask your network of friends and colleagues for advice on where to stay when you’re traveling? Or maybe you want to offer recommendations for a local electrician, dentist, or specialty food shop. You could do it all by e-mail, or through existing social networks like Facebook. But dealing with such requests and recommendations as they come up can be clumsy and inefficient—who needs more random e-mail threads cluttering up their inbox?

FriendlyFavor claims to have a better solution. The Seattle startup is rolling out a national website today that lets you keep all your social requests and offers in one centralized place. The site works as a request tool for everything from job referrals to consumer recommendations—directed to your specific network of people whom you know and trust. The software is being designed to hook into social-networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

And that’s the key to FriendlyFavor’s strategy. “It’s not another social network,” says president and co-founder Scott Larson, who previously founded Vashon Partners. “It’s an application to complement those networks you’ve already built…in a trusted and more purposeful way.” Larson says its value lies in being more efficient than e-mail in managing requests and favors.

Beyond marketing the tool to consumers, a next step for FriendlyFavor will be to license the software platform to businesses and organizations, says co-founder and chief strategist John Patton. That means university alumni networks, marketing teams in large companies, and so forth. Patton emphasizes the importance of having “a single location for each favor” that’s persistent, as compared to the transient messages on Facebook, for example.

FriendlyFavor was founded in 2007 and has raised $500,000 in angel funding. It is backed by individual investors from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Marchex. FriendlyFavor currently has five employees, and it launched a public beta trial of 500 users in the Seattle area last summer. The startup generates revenues from a combination of targeted online advertising, technology licensing fees, and sponsorships.

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