On This Social Networking Site, Find Deals and Friends

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorLaconia, N.H.–Black Widow Network, a social networking site for real estate investors that launched in January 2008, allows its members to connect with people in the industry as well as view, post and send investment deals to their contacts.Kevin Skarritt, who is on the board of advisors of the Boston Area Real Estate Investors Association, and Richard Dale-Mesaros, a board member of the New Hampshire Real Estate Investors Association are spearheading the Black Widow Network, which tries in its name to capture the essence of real estate investors—their business acumen in striking fast.The Black Widow Network currently has 1,000 members, including investors, service providers and contractors, but the company hopes it will have close to 30,000 members by the end of this year. “We are hearing so much lately about social networking, social media and social communication with sites like MySpace and Facebook. Why not have a highly customized Web site designed specifically for the needs of a single industry?” Skarritt, managing partner at Black Widow Network, tells MHN.Deals on the Black Widow Network stay in the system for 45 days. Every member can customize their search settings to their unique investing style and matching deals are sent directly to them so they don’t have to wade through irrelevant listings. Realtor listings are not allowed on the site. The site also has many privacy filters and members can post deals anonymously. It also allows creation of networks within networks, through which members can share very customized information.In addition to getting information on deals, members can get rankings and recommendations on service providers such as plumbers, who are members of the site.Richard Dale-Mesaros, managing partner at Black Widow Network tells MHN, “The benefit for service providers and contractors is that they are exposing themselves to the real estate market.”The only challenge, say Dale-Mesaros and Skarritt, “Is that the real estate industry does not have the 20-somethings who are well equipped to navigate social networking, so we need to have plenty of easy-to-use applications.”