Friday Flash: The data dance, AOL/ and the handheld brokerage

ForeclosureRadar, a long-time 1000WATT client, is looking for a kick-ass VP of marketing – someone with a record of growing online businesses. ForeclosureRadar is growing like a weed, profitable, and lead by Sean O’Toole, one of the smartest people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Email him directly at sean (at) if you’re interested.

Looks like Zillow’s a/b testing a new home page design. Joel caught it earlier today. You may not get it when you visit the site, so the screen cap is below. Much cleaner, less emphasis on the Zestimate (“Find homes” versus “Find home values and listings”) and  – oh no! – celebrity real estate news is gone. Seriously, I like it a lot.

Zillow's new home page

Trulia launched a program called “Trulia Direct Reference” to improve the listing data quality on As you may know, I think this problem is a big deal. So all things considered, I’m glad to see this. But let us consider, briefly, the things:

  • This is mostly skilled messaging. Trulia is taking a “leadership” position in an area of weakness. I appreciate that dance, but with these things you need to look at the motive, not the message.
  • If you are an MLS and believe that your secret sauce is quality data, or perhaps have visions of a public-facing website, you’re essentially washing your competitor’s dirty car with your secret scrub-brush – for free.
  • I struggle with industry advisory boards. There, I said it.

AOL bought, the hyperlocal news and noise aggregator. This is notable for us in real estate because it is a further extension of the online media giant’s reach into communities and neighborhoods (it launched a network of local sites through its venture last year). This means new advertising opportunities for real estate pros and brands, but also, perhaps, an intrusion on the neighborhood-level conversation in which realtors participate. Worth keeping an eye on this.

Check out this amazing visualization of Android’s growth. Such a massive proliferation means damn near all Realtors will have smart phones in their hands by the end of this year. Many will have tablets. You knew that. But I am intrugued by the notion that, really, one soon could run an entire brokerage on these platforms. Something both virtual and local, free from not only a physical infrastructure but an IT infrastructure. The apps to make this happen are either here or coming soon.

In the same vein, this article from engadget on the “Post PC World” is worth a close read. It’s about technology, yes, but really about breaking free from something people are tired of and starting a new conversation. That’s marketing gold and quite relevant in real estate, I think.

Happy weekend!