Do Us a Favor and Read About This Social Start-Up Called Favo.rs (Video)

Adam Rodnitzky would like you to do him a favor. Actually, he’d probably prefer you do a bunch of favors for other people.

Favo.rs, a new social Web tool in private beta, is building a layer on top of social networks so that users can trade favors in social capital.

Let’s say a user wants to meet AllThingsD honcho Walt Mossberg, but they don’t know him or anyone who does. They post a request on Favo.rs — and, since I know Walt, I could choose to grant the favor and make an intro.

So far, nothing new here — this is how the world works.

What Favo.rs does is log the social transaction (if you want to call it that), track relationships and help favor doers and seekers gather around common areas of interest. As users interact more they will be able to see who is doing the most favors and how frequently they are paying back into the system.

“We’re trying to play off that Silicon Valley ‘pay it forward’ economy where people are willing to make connections for other people,” said Rodnitzky.

This type of interaction can be incredibly valuable, but until now has gone unquantified online.

Favo.rs has taken about $1 million in funding, including a chunk by Jeff Clavier who advises the start-up.

A lot of this is just beta dreams, explained Rodnitzky.

“Today, Favo.rs is a skeleton version of what we will be in a few months,” he said. “Right now, the only favor you can ask of people is that they promote something for you on Twitter.”

But Rodnitzky has been heartened by the early users already asking favors of each other that are outside of the first test.

He believes it fills a gap: “We think the biggest weakness in social networks today is that they treat all connections equally.”

And there seems to be something to that frustration.

Facebook, which is where Rodnitzky sees a future for Favo.rs, has always had a clunky system for managing relationships that are often difficult to describe in real-world terms.

Some describe Facebook as building an analog for human social interaction online. If that’s the case, than there is likely a lot of nuance left to integrate.

The personal connection economy that Favo.rs is trying to tap into may seem like a tough nut to crack. It’s unclear whether it will become a data dashboard or a marketplace for favors — or both.

Sink or swim, Favo.rs is going to be faced with answering the kind of questions that will define the next era of personal capital online.

I sat with Rodnitzky in his San Francisco office to ask a few of those questions and got his answers on video.

Do me a favor and watch:


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald