Friday Flash: capturing the local conversation, RPR fireworks and social noise

NextDoor, a social network play for neighbors, launched this week. Zillow co-founder Richard Barton is on the board.

This comes a couple weeks after AOL launched MapQuest Vibe, a service that ranks points of interest and things to do in neighborhoods by giving them a “Vibe Score.”

I’m not sure if either of these companies will be successful, but their existence points to an opportunity for brokers. Who’s better positioned to connect neighbors? Who has a sales force holding more local insights than MapQuest ever will?

We’re working with brokers who are going after this opportunity hard. I hope more will follow.

Greg over at Vendor Alley was at it again this week after Rob published a post suggesting that RPR may need to go to the Realtor dues well to continue operations.

From Greg’s video:

“This will make RIN look like a parking ticket.”


Ziprealty, which was born as a discount brokerage that paid agents a salary and has now largely abandoned that path, has now abandoned something else: site registration.

This is worth noting because was the only site routinely among the top ten most trafficked real estate sites to require registration.

In an Inman News article, a Ziprealty rep is quoted as saying “we’re still a VOW,” but that the company won’t offer any of the data users could get at by choosing to register to see extra VOW goodies like recent sales.

I’m confused.

Getting your website translated into a difference language has always been tough. Either you pay a bunch for a professional translator or deal with the sloppiness of a machine translation service like Google Translate.

Smartling, is a new company that offers a better range of options. You can do machine translation, but have a dashboard for making edits; you can pay for professional translation, but rates are reasonable. Or you can mix it up.

If you’re targeting off-shore buyers or operate in a market with a significant number of non-english speakers, this may make reaching them a bit easier.

Facebook’s Open Graph is about curating your life

I read that headline a month ago, and it still sits uneasily in my brain.

I want to live my life, not “curate” it; celebrate experience, not the artifacts of experience; feel the touch of friendship, not the stream of nothingness.

Social interaction online is indisputably powerful. It can result in meaningful relationships. It can accelerate social movements. But so, so much of what’s happening in “social” these days – and with Facebook, in particular – feels to me like a cynical play to harvest data by pricking the loneliest, vainest, most dissatisfied of our emotional nerve endings.

I say this because we do a lot of work figuring out how to work “social” into the real estate experience. We’ve seen it work and we’ve seen it fail.

The key is to think about how to integrate social elements into, say, a brokerage website, in a way that adds value to the experience and helps the user get something done.

Otherwise, you’re just piping noise into your world.

Have a great weekend!