Friday Flash: Homes.com, map mysteries and beautiful books

Homes.com issued a press release claiming “Homes.com Ranks #2 in User Page Views and Time Spent on Website, Following Only Realtor.com.” Now, traffic numbers are more susceptible to spin than a presidential debate, but it is interesting to me that Homes.com seems to be showing signs of life. A couple years ago they were floating idly in the outer orbits of online real estate. Good for them.

Move, Inc. released Q4 earnings. Nothing really earthshaking. But I was reminded that this company has a lot of money in the bank (some of which will depleted in a stock buy-back). So, with Zillow and Trulia announcing some manner of profitability, and Move at essentially break-even with a pile of cash, you can expect the intensifying battle for ownership of the online real estate space to be a loooooong one. [Disclosure: Move, Inc. is a 1000watt Consulting client].

Venture capitalist Mary Meeker gave a presentation detailing the rocket-like adoption of mobile devices. We all know this story, but sometimes it helps to have someone re-read it to us. When you look through her slides, it becomes clear that the epochal force that was the iPhone – the thing that “changed everything” – pales in comparison to what’s happening now.

ReadWriteWeb wrote up pre-launch start up called HipGeo that reminded me that as location/check-in apps fade from our immediate attention (Gowalla is still there, in case you were wondering) we are still far from done exploring more meaningful location based services that will have a profound impact on our lives and, perhaps, the real estate business.

The debate over map-based property search Joel started last week continued over at Vendor Alley. Some really good points were raised – all underscoring the complexity of creating a great online real estate experience. My take: users will always tell you they “want” map search when you ask them. Frequently, their clicks will as well. They lie. Maps sounds good. They look cool. They can even be fun to play with.

But let’s remember: the conversion numbers tell the true story.

This article from ClickZ about Google’s Boost ad programnotes that only 4-5% of all businesses have claimed their Google Place page. If you’re a broker with storefronts, make sure you do this. And also consider Boost – which is far simpler than AdWords and just a smart play as Google continues to push its own products to the top of search results.

I can’t stop looking at these. I will miss books.

Have a great weekend!

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