Hunch: The intelligence of a million clicks

hunch-logoHunch, a website that claims it “Helps you make decisions and gets smarter the more you use it” emerged from private beta this week.

The site – which collected 7 million answers from 40,000 people during its beta phase – runs you through a series of questions that produce a “hunch” about what you should do. The more questions you answer, the better it understands you. The millions of correlations established from data points provided by other users also condition results.

Topics range from the practical (“Which running shoe should I buy?“) to the absurd (“How should I kill this zombie?“)

Users can create new topics, provided they adhere to a style guide and get enough positive votes from users who vet new entries, and can embed topics on their own site or blog. An API allows developers to create deeper integrations.

I wrote about Hunch after signing up to test the site a few months ago, noting its still-ambiguous relation to online real estate.

That connection is no longer ambiguous.


As you can see, there are already a bunch of real estate questions. There are also a ton of questions like “Where should I live in Los Angeles?” and a whole category dedicated to home and garden questions. There will be many more soon.

The online real estate possibilities here are obvious and vaguely threatening if you’re a broker not inclined to give freely of information or advice.

Looked at from this perspective, Hunch forebodes a future where the one indissoluble element of Realtor value – the decision-aiding knowledge accumulated through experience – is reconstituted, monstrously, from the inferred intent of a million clicks.

Okay, that’s a little bleak… but you take my point: Resistance is stupid. And good Realtors will never be taken out by technology.

So let’s look at it this way: Consumers don’t want to talk to a real estate professional until they feel they have to. Real estate professionals spend way too much time working unqualified leads. Something like Hunch then could work both ways.

You may think this is silly. But consider this: How silly is an engaging decision tool compared to, say, that “Buyer Tips” article that’s been sitting on your site for ten years? Or the mindless feeding frenzy of many online real estate forums?

I’d like to see an online real estate company or brokerage implement the Hunch API, contribute some topics, and build a marketing campaign around it.

It would sure beat “We deliver dreams.”