Regarding the BPP, let’s just get this out of the way: the word “portal” needs to be retired.
Lycos was a portal. You got to it using your Gateway tower and a dial-up modem.
I imagine the expectation among skeptics was that the BPP product strategy would have a similarly dated quality. Some legacy tech vendor would be tapped to throw up a crappy website, then we’d all listen to the crickets chirp.
That’s not what happened.
BPP announced last week that it will be partnering with Homesnap [disclosure: 1000watt has been involved with the BPP project since last year]. Homesnap got tons of publicity three years ago for the nifty photo feature in its mobile app, which allows you to get information on any property just by taking a picture of it. But the most interesting thing about Homesnap is this:
It’s really good mobile software agents and consumers can use together.
With Homesnap, an agent can invite clients to search with them. They can set up alerts for prospects and former clients who are now owners, but still want to track the market. If the agent’s MLS goes all-in with the Homesnap Pro option as part of their participation in BPP, they will be able to message clients (and other agents) directly in the app, generate reports, and research transaction histories.
This is important. It presents an opportunity for an “inside-out” growth strategy. BPP isn’t going to hire a thousand people and spend $100 million on advertising. But it will get into the hands of hundreds of thousands of agents who will, in turn, provision it to buyers, sellers, renters and owners. And agents, not media companies – not even mighty Zillow – are the primary drivers of consumer engagement with the world of real estate.
I am sure BPP will generate plenty of free leads, but remember that about 80% of agents’ business comes from other places – from referrals, farming, personal sphere marketing and the like. BPP, in choosing Homesnap, has an opportunity to play in that big slice of the pie while the other online players fight over who can spit out the most internet leads.
Don’t cue the crickets just yet.
These two things happened this week:
- Wells Fargo announced a 3% down mortgage product.
- A startup that gives people airline miles for buying homes launched.
Umm… let the good times roll?
Realtor.com released a major update to its mobile app. It’s fantastic. Fast, clean, simple – a great leap forward.
Thing is, I think we’ve reached “peak real estate search app”. In other words, all the consumer home search apps with significant usage are now at parity. They’re all really good and more or less the same.
I don’t think it lies in the continued pursuit of a “lifestyle search” algorithm – a solution in search of a problem, in my opinion. I suspect what’s next will have to do less with the information delivered and more with how, when and where it’s delivered.
Joel and I were in Las Vegas last week for the Sotheby’s International Realty global networking event. Great show.
The metrics on that site since the launch are astounding – traffic, engagement and leads are through the roof as a result of the brand’s intense focus on top-quality content. They invested in content that enabled targeted, powerful partnerships. They mandated standards around listing photos, video and copy. They leveraged the big bowl of eye candy sitting in their lap.
“Content marketing” isn’t memes and listicles. It’s this.
I was halfway through this piece in Wired about Google’s research into making app notifications more useful when this quote hit me like a ton of bricks:
“Notifications from other people make you feel your existence is important.”
Ouch. This one hit home for me.
I think I’ll shut down my iPhone this weekend and look around.