If you don't get it, you don't get it.
If you don't get it, you don't get it.
Vast.com scooped up all the assets of Adaptive Real Estate Sources (ARES) at a December 26 auction after the buyers of Edgio.com failed to pay enough to also get the ARES assets. Edgio acquired ARES for $200K in 2006 and spent another $300K developing it further. Edgio was sold last month for $280K to LookSmart, but the reserve on the ARES assets was not met. That led to an auction of ARES with no reserve.
The "hidden treasure" buried in the ARES assets was the feeds from all the MLS' around the country. Many of the MLS feeds were listed as "inactive" and therefore, considered to be of little, if any value. But it's quite the opposite - those "inactive" feeds are a potential gold mine. Taking into account the potential value of those inactive feeds once they're active (not very hard to make happen), what Vast paid for ARES could be consider a steal.
Realogy just opened up OpenHouse.com to an any and all agents and brokers who want to add their open house data feeds to the site. Realogy and OpenHouse.com say that it aims to save agents and brokers money by eliminating the need to place open house ads in print media, which is very expensive, while increasing the exposure that their sellers get.
At first glance this seems to be all fine and dandy and a valid argument. After all, the effectiveness of print media is on the decline while more and more buyers turn to the internet for their home search.
But wait a minute...
The effectiveness of open houses is also on the decline for the very same reason as is print media.
Buyers are turning to the internet for information on properties, which inlcludes pictures, virtual tours and even video tours and podcasts. Listing sites are constantly increasing the number of photos available for upload as well as the amount of information about properties for sale. This, combined with the ever increasing price of gasoline and not enough hours in the day for fun, makes for fewer buyers driving around on a Saturday or Sunday to go to open houses.
To give you an example, in 2004 and the first half of 2005, we were holding open houses on a fairly regular basis. But as 2005 went on, the effectiveness of open houses plunged. As of 2006, less than 1 percent of buyers in our area found the property they purchased through an open house.
As for the agents and brokers that think they still must hold open houses in order to sell the listing and/or please their customer, check this out...
We listed and sold over 45 properties in 2007 and none of them had an open house. And none of the over 20 buyers we worked with in 2007 saw the property they bought at an open house.
It's not that we don't offer open houses as a choice to sellers - we do. But after we explain to them the demographics of buyers in our area and how buyers go about finding and previewing properties, none of the sellers chose to do an open house.
Much like print media, open houses will soon be a thing of the past. It may take some time, but it will happen eventually. By focusing on things such as OpenHouse.com, Realogy is sepnding time and money on a sinking ship. But that seems to be the case with a lot of the "old big dogs" in real estate so it's not surprising.
Ever wondered how to make your Google search easier and get more focused results? Well, the guys over at Sellsius have been kind enough to share their list of "The Best Google Search Secrets" with everyone.
Here's an excerpt:
1. Use quotation marks to search for the exact phrase “co-op board rejection” (strangely, a splog ranks higher than our original post Madonna Sues Her New York Co-op Board)
2. Use the pipe (|) for an either/or search (or use the word “or”): fsbo|by owner.
3. Use two periods (..) to find information within a number range, including years: worst housing markets 1980..2006.
4. Get a list of definitions with “define:” define:foreclosure.
Rapattoni Corp. announced that Rapattoni MLS is now teaming with Google to provide daily listing feeds to Google Base that will bring prospective buyers instantly back to the listing agent and broker.
When a buyer runs a Google search looking for specific housing criteria, Google returns a brief description and picture of the property along with a link back to the public view on Rapattoni MLS of that specific property. There, the prospective buyer can see more about the property, including additional pictures and links directly to the listing agent and broker's information. The Rapattoni MLS/Google search is designed to make the listing agent the buyer's destination.
The Rapattoni MLS Google upload program can be optional at many levels. If the MLS organization chooses to permit uploads to Google, individual offices can opt out if they prefer. They can even opt out for an individual listing if they wish. The entire program is designed to make sure that the listing information on Google is up-to-date and that sold listings are removed. This assures the public valid and reliable data for properties currently on the market.
Rapattoni is offering this new feature at no additional cost to its MLS customers. "By giving the MLS the ability to send listings to Google while still allowing the brokers to opt out, we are creating a winning solution for all members. Google provides a huge amount of additional exposure for the agents' listings and a wonderful service to sellers," said Bill Andrews, Rapattoni's national sales manager.
AOL recently launched their new and improved real estate site in an effort to increase it's presence in the already-saturated market of listing sites. AOL's new real estate site also includes a revamped home-valuation center through a partnership with Cyberhomes, a part of Fidelity.
The new site and partnership was done in an effort to place property search front and center while offering consumers a broad view of the market, company officials said.
AOL has partnerships with various sites and companies such as Apartments.com, which allows AOL's real estate site to also provide information on rentals, FSBO's and foreclosure listings. This brings the total amount of listings on AOL's real estate site to over 1 million and an average of 3.5 million unique visitors per month over the last 6 months.
Look for a "Find-A-Realtor" section in the future as well (though maybe they should call it "Find-An-Agent" so that NAR doesn't come after AOL like they did RealtorGenius). Wonder if they will be selling leads to agents and/or charging them to be a part of the network. Hopefully, it'll be free, but you'll have to qualify to be a part of the network based on production, client satisfaction and other criteria which will weed out the bad agents leaving the good agents to provide consumers with great service. We'll see...
The first ever Virginia Real Estate BloggerCon (blogger convention) will be hosted by the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR) on Wednesday, October 3rd. The BloggerCon will be held during VAR's annual convention (September 30-October 4) in Williamsburg, Virginia. BloggerCon will bring current Realtor bloggers and those who may be interested in learning more about real estate blogging together in one place during a convention for the first time ever.
Among the many discussions going on at BloggerCon, a few of the ones you'll be able to participate in are:
We look forward to meeting and hanging out with fellow bloggers as well as getting to know some of our readers and future bloggers in person. Sure there will be plenty of great ideas and tips exchanged during the BloggerCon that will be put to good use.
At first glance, it looks as though NAR got with the times and finally did something that would help Realtors by launching their "Let's Talk by Realtor.com" feature. If you're a member of NAR, you can set up your blog for free and it seems that they offer tools to help you get on your blogging feet as well. Errol Samuelson, Realtor.com President even came out and claimed that the blogging tools are designed with search-engine-optimization (SEO) features to help with placement and traffic in order to help promote you as a Realtor.
A free blog, tools to help you get on your feet, SEO optimization and the backing of your association?! Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, it may not be as good as it seems. After a closer look, here are some things that became more apparent:
1) Take a moment to check out the format. It's almost identical to ActiveRain when it first started out - the posts are hand picked by the staff of the community blog hosting the personal blogs. If you don't know what happened to ActiveRain, well, let's just say that they had a "few problems". Because the staff of AR picked which posts were "worthy" and which ones weren't, there was a perception by the ActiveRain community that there was bias and censorship involved in the process. Many bloggers complained and/or left. They have sinced changed that, but are still doing damage control.
Despite the fact that this format does not work in the real estate blogging world, Realtor.com is using this exact format. And they're making it very clear to everyone that they're doing so by putting a yellow banner at the top of their home page that says "Read the daily round-up from the best blogs in real estate".
What does "best blogs" mean? Does it mean that because your post wasn't chosen that it's not a good post? To whom is it not a good post, the staff of Realtor.com? So if it's not good or important to them, then it's not worth telling anyone else about it? And if they happen to lean more favorably towards certain Realtors than others, their posts will get featured and the other posts won't?
2) The blogging platform, Featured Blogging is either an exact copy of Blogging Systems' platform by another company or they just renamed it for Realtor.com. Either way, it's not exactly the most blogger-friendly platform around. When compared to others such as TypePad, WordPress or Blogger, it lacks in functionality, appearance, ease of use and customization. Since Blogging Systems charges a fee similar to TypePad and Wordpress, one can only imagine why they didn't go with one of those. And btw...Blogger is free.
3) The "Featured Bloggers" being broken down by certain cities and states and the method of choosing them is puzzling. Why are some cities and states listed and others aren't? And how did someone who's posts are only one or two sentences long saying "I sold this house" and "I have this open house going on this weekend" get picked as a "Featured" blogger? What benefit does boasting about your sales have to those searching for information about the area, market stats, community ammenities, etc? Perhaps it gives consumers the perception that the agent is experienced, which they very well may be, but it forces the consumer to contact the specific agent or look elsewhere to get the information they need. This defeats the purpose of a blog and transparency in general.
It's also another example of how the associations and MLS's all believe that they should keep the information close to themselves and hidden from the general public in order to remain important and necessary. They should know by now (as all other industries and consumers know) that this is the incorrect way of doing business and will eventually backfire.
In a nutshell, it's a copy cat of a system that failed for others and will fail again and it doesn't provide consumers or agents with anything better than what is already available. In fact, just searching keywords through Google Web Search or Google Blog Search will provide you with a greater amount of relevant results that are all at the same, if not higher caliber as any blog "Featured" on "Let's Talk".
Definitely just hype.
ActiveRain, a social network and blogging platform that launched in the summer of 2006, has rolled out an advertisting platform using an auction based system. With 45,000 users in the ActiveRain network, Jonathan Washburn and Matt Heaton believe that a minimum $10 campaign budget for impression-based ads will be well worth it to advertisers.
The advertising campaign can target:
In addition, ActiveRain cliams:
With 45,000 users and growing, the ActiveRain advertising platform offers advertisers some decent potential to reach target audiences. It'll be interesting to see what the typical ROI will be and whether ActiveRain ends up making a few dollars.
On July 30th, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for the Washington Metro Area, MRIS, announced they were planning on implementing a new security feature...
Protecting Your Most Precious Asset
Content security remains a prevalent challenge industry wide. Through the subscriber licensing agreements currently in place as well as promotion and education on the importance of lawfully asserting copyright rights, MRIS has remained stalwart in its effort to protect your content. We are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to keep ahead of the curve and are currently making preparations for the logical next step—the implementation of a security process known as “secure login.”
Often real estate practitioners don’t realize it, but once they’ve shared their MRIS password with a well-trusted third party, that third party sometimes shares it with yet another party, compromising the content security that MLS subscribers are paying for. Strong authentication offers a second layer of password protection designed to thwart unauthorized use. MRIS has chosen the SAFEMLS™ secure login product, in partnership with Clareity Security. This product has a proven track record, successfully serving over 30 MLSs nation-wide. MRIS will offer this added protection at no additional charge to subscribers.
The problem is security is not an issue for me. Having a iron tight lockdown on content is something I don't necessarily think is a problem.
However, I do have a problem with the MRIS telling me they are "stalwart" in their effort to protect my content because I know this is completely untrue. Just take a spin through Yahoo's Real Estate section and you will see what I mean.
All my content and the content of every listing in the MRIS database is being marketed by Yahoo and directed to Prudential. There is barely a blip about the listing agent while all banners and other ads are for Prudential. All leads are directed to Prudential. All contact information is for Prudential and Prudential agents. And on every listing is the MRIS logo, plain as day, promoting the hijacking of my content.
Thanks for the protection.
What this ridiculous security measure is truly meant to do is prevent agents from sharing their access to the MRIS. I'm sure they have found a lot of sharing of logins and want to prevent it going forward. It is an attempt to increase the subscriber database.
What it will really do is piss off a lot of agents. The reason agents will be irritated is because they will have to carry around a token that generates a password that matches your new 4 digit pin. No token, no access. You misplace, lose, forget or break your token, you don't get access.
I'm not sure how this is going to help agents sell more homes. And shouldn't that be the goal?