Friday Flash: Emotional titillation, Realogy's Roadshow, and a trivial pursuit

The number of people I talk to in this business who have only the vaguest understanding of what Realogy is and does is surprisingly large.

After all, it’s the biggest real estate company in the world. And now it’s getting ready to go public.

So it is most definitely worth 40 minutes of your time to watch their roadshow presentation. It’s a great overview of the business, and the housing market.

It is of course a sales pitch. There are elements of the presentation one might argue with. But, again, worth the time.

Facebook released its first ad, a smorgasbord of emotional titillation. Children playing, people crying, lovers loving, crowds jumping. Even a questioning gaze into the cosmos.

It’s all there, beautifully presented, to remind us just how much Facebook connects us.

Also released by Facebook this week: a new feature through which you pay $7 to make sure a single post makes it through the ads, auto-generated app postings and other Open Graph effluvia and actually gets seen by the people you love.

Redfin and Windermere hired the WAV Group to produce a report comparing listings quality on their IDX-powered websites to that found on Trulia and Zillow.

You know how this ends.

I’ve harped on this for a long time and here’s what I found out: No one cares.

Should they? Of course. Just like I probably should care about the plight of polar bears. This stuff matters.

But it’s going to take more than ranty blog posts and spreadsheets if this is to change.

People need to feel the frustration, and the hazard, produced by bad data. They need to see that lone bear stranded on that last chunk of ice.

I feel an ad campaign coming on.

The NAR’s Code of Ethics is a sacred text. How about we trivialize it?

An interesting angle on real estate investing: buy apartments, then rent them through Airbnb.

Sounds kooky, but I guess it works.

Airbnb continues to be a company to watch if you’re thinking about the future of real estate.

For the past 10 years, in every business I’ve owned or run, I’ve had to deal with online merchant services – companies that process your credit card payments. It has always been a pain point.

Last year, to set up a merchant account to take payments for Nudge, our software app, I had to fill out and fax (fax!) 20 pages of forms to, a long-time player in this space.

Then I had to wait two weeks for “underwriting” to make their decision.

Once we were approved, we managed our account through a Spice Girls-era online dashboard that frequently raised more questions than it answered.

This week, I set up a merchant account with Braintree, a much newer payments company.

We were up and running in five minutes. No faxing. Great online UI. Love, not rage.

My point: this is true disruption. A new player smells customer frustration and incumbent stagnation and pounces. People are delighted to discover a better way and the incumbents get rolled.

We haven’t seen this sort of disruption in real estate, but it seems unwise not to assume we will at some point, and plan accordingly.

Enjoy the weekend.