Friend Theory is a free hospitality network which helps you find places to stay and host people through mutual friends. The technology is slick: they integrate with Facebook so your friends are already identified, assuming you and your friends are active on Facebook. This was easier before 2015, when apps could access all the information about your friends through Facebook. There are now restrictions on this data, so your friends have to actually join Friend Theory before their geographic info can be displayed in the network.
Friend Theory is free, so there’s no harm in signing up.
The Friend Theory advertising suggests your friend network is huge: “Did you know that for every 100 friends, you have 27,000 friends of friends? Your social network is way more powerful than you think!” In reality this number is basically infinite. It just depends on how many degrees of separate you’re willing to tolerate. Though I’m pretty sure Friend Theory is only looking at one level of friends beyond your direct connections. And I’m willing to agree that on average people have at least 270 Facebook friends.
Friend Theory is free, so I signed up to give it a try. I’m the 12,278th person to join. Once you’ve signed up, Friend Theory aggressively prompts you to invite your friends to join. A good idea since that’s the whole point of the network! I skipped that step and went straight to look at my Friend Theory map.
It is sadly empty. And so my ability to explore Friend Theory ends there. But in truth I don’t think there’s much more to review. The point of the network is that you trust your friend network. So once you’ve made contact you just take it from there to find lodging or connect with people in the places you’ll be visiting.
The company is based in Australia and was founded in November 2017.
The concept certainly has legs, though I’m clearly biased since I’ve spent a lot of my own money and time on a very similar product. 50%+ of all trips stays worldwide are some form of staying with family, friends, or other trusted connections. But it all happens through text, email, FB, etc.
Challenges to the model are three fold: Marketing/distribution, chicken & egg marketplace, and business model to warrant sustained development/investment into product.