Peanut, the app referred to as “Tinder for moms” because it connects mothers by letting them swipe each other’s profiles, is launching a new community discussion feature. Called Peanut Pages, it’s meant to give mothers a better alternative to Facebook Groups, Quora and other social platforms.
Since its launch almost exactly one year ago, Peanut has built a userbase of 300,000 moms who have swiped profiles over 19 million times and sent more than one million messages to each other. Though Peanut’s matchmaking feature quickly gained traction among moms eager to find real-life mom friends, Peanut Pages faces formidable competition because there are already tons of places for online parenting groups.
Many Facebook users default to its groups, while people who hate Facebook can find communities on Reddit, Quora and other platforms. Co-workers have private Slack channels and neighbors can arrange playdates or find babysitters on Nextdoor. So how will Peanut Pages stand out from the fray?
“I think that is exactly the issue,” Peanut co-founder and chief executive officer Michelle Kennedy said in an email interview. “Social has become so broad. The landscape is so fragmented. All of that incredible resource, knowledge, sharing, is being lost, or is not accessible by all women, because there is no one central repository.”
Peanut wants Pages to become that central repository. Since other social networks aren’t designed specifically for mothers, Peanut wants to give women who have different interests, identities and parenting styles their own platform instead of lumping them into the same category.
“Peanut has always been, at its heart, about connecting women, who happen to be mothers,” Kennedy explained. “Our existing users already know that our style, the way we interact with our users, is not about being ‘mommy,’ it’s about being themselves, and as part of that, being a mother. We continue to reflect this through Pages.”
In addition to discussion boards moderated by power users called MVPs, or “Most Valued Peanuts,” Peanut Pages also complements the matchmaking part of the app by encouraging meetups with polling and scheduling features.
“We’ve already seen users who are testing sharing details about March for Our Lives [the anti-gun violence rally scheduled to take place in Washington D.C. next month] and discussing whether they will be joining. I think that’s a really interesting social statement, that women want to use our platform to connect in real life, but also on issues which matter to them,” said Kennedy.
One problem Facebook Group users frequently run into are privacy concerns. Though a closed or secret group might seem safe, everything you post is still connected to your profile and can be screenshotted and shared. This is especially concerning for people seeking support about sensitive parenting issues. To reassure members, Peanut Pages allows anonymous posts, but it does not allow people to reply anonymously to keep them accountable for what they write.
Peanut is currently available only in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Even though it’s seen interest in other markets, Kennedy says the company will continue focusing on its existing communities before expanding. Another thing it remains dedicated to is serving women and giving them a safe place to connect online.
“I worked in the dating industry for many years, and I am very aware of the dynamics between users, and safety,” said Kennedy, whose resume includes key roles at Bumble and Badoo. “You know, when we launched, I received hate mail because we were a product for women only (I don’t think those messages were from women). I was blown away, can’t we have our own product? Our own community?”
Many fathers, especially stay-at-home dads, are also in search of dedicated communities, so Peanut may do dad-oriented things in the future (several of its team members are fathers), but “we have to start somewhere, and our focus is motherhood as a part of womanhood,” Kennedy says.