Friday Flash: Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring…

In 1969, the Cuyahoga river in Cleveland caught on fire. It was an event, and an image, that concentrated the popular mind. A wakeup call that spurred the modern environmental movement.

In 2013, the President of the United States wanted to talk to the American people about housing. He did this with Zillow.

Spencer Rascoff with Barack Obama

NAR, the “Voice for real estate”, was left bleating in facile protest.

Will this wakeup call be answered?

Did you know that your car probably contains a chip that tracks where you’re going, when, and at what pace?

Neither did I.

But Inrix, a Seattle-based company founded in 2005, has been collecting and using this (anonymized) data in really interesting ways. To date, their customers have largely been in the media, automotive and public sectors. But now they’re testing the real estate waters.

You can see what this means by looking at Users can now search for a home within a specific drive time from their workplace. Or, when viewing a specific property, they can calculate their commute by time of day.

The drive times are dead-on accurate because hundreds of millions of data points are being collected from millions of cars on the road right now.

Kudos to the Windermere tech team for a nice implementation. It’s good to see a brokerage take the lead on adding value to the home search experience.

If you’re a broker, how do you know if your website’s any good?

Well, getting an award is about the worst way. But obsessing on your conversion rate – and optimizing against it – is one of the best.

So when I read about vFlyer’s new analytics product, and saw the simple visualization of this metric (below) I was impressed.


Yes, Google Analytics and other packages are super robust, but I like things the business oriented broker/owner can understand at a glance.

I was talking to the tech director at a client brokerage this morning, kicking around some new ideas.

Solds came up.

“Our MLS won’t let us display solds with prices on our site.”

Yeah, old issue. But the rank stupidity of this reality never loses its impact.

If I am a brokerage, I can’t match Trulia or Zillow feature for feature. And they probably kick my ass at SEO.

But I’ve got something they don’t have: MLS data. The good stuff. Man, could I build some killer things with solds!

But I can’t. Because… why?

Enjoy the weekend.