Almost a year ago, we mapped out the rapidly expanding real estate Web 2.0 universe. In the months that ensued, we did our best to chart new sites as they emerged and remove others as they went nova. But over the past two weeks we’ve undertaken a major overhaul, created new categories, and took into account suggestions from readers.
Click here for the result.
The map is almost certainly incomplete. In the end, we left off far more sites than we added.
As for what we did chart, each company or application contributes something to online real estate innovation. If you think we overlooked anything, let us know, but please understand that this map reflects our own opinions. We also do not think all of those listed are home runs; in fact, we’ve written less than favorably about many of them.
New to this map are sites/companies outside the U.S., a category omitted from the first version. There’s too much out there now from which to learn. We also re-named or combined several existing categories.
It should also be noted that there are tons of companies and applications that drive innovation in online real estate but are not themselves focused on our industry. A strong case could be made, for example, that Google has in many ways impacted real estate more than any vertical play. Similarly, the explosion of microblogging/lifestreaming applications being used in real estate could have filled an entire category. But the line needed to be drawn somewhere.
Some general observations:
- Quantities alone tell an interesting story. Search and listings sites are even more numerous than they were a year ago. But no one company — despite the successes of Zillow and Trulia and considerable improvements to Realtor.com — has emerged as the company to beat.
- The number of real estate specific mobile applications remains small despite the explosion in mobile searches and ever improving handsets. We think there’s big opportunity here. You could say the same for mortgages, but this category, unlike mobile, is contracting, not growing.
- There are a small but interesting number of new entrants in the “Neighborhood/Local” category. As we’ve said before, the battle for online real estate will ultimately be won in the neighborhood. The best Realtors have always been those that weave themselves into the local conversation. We think there is still plenty of room for applications that make that happen online. What’s there now merely hints at the possibilities.
- We continue to see IDX leveraged in new and exciting ways. In nearly every category, there is a company going well beyond the solutions of the past. Expect to see still more innovation here as brokers recognize they can no longer outsource innovation.
We’re interested in your observations too. Shoot us an email, or better yet leave your comments here so everyone can benefit.
— Brian and Marc