Real Estate Websites Of The FutureMay 7, 2007
There is an excellent discussion of broker websites of the future over at TransparentRE. This article exists only because perhaps I am a bit more ambitious in my hopes for the real estate website of the future.
Platform Integration: Many of the more popular features currently only available via plugins will become integrated directly into blogging platforms. Some of my issues are just pet peeves centered on waiting for all those darn plugins to load; the other is around little details that these plugins generally didnt get right. Meebo wont let you change pages while chatting for example. So, if I want to check out something interesting on your site that happens to be on a different page that I noticed while chatting, I have to wait even if the interesting content is on the same domain. How “sticky” is that? With the various instant messenger providers (MSN, AOL, Yahoo) increasingly providing open interfaces to their products, the current plugin players will go away as blogging platforms build messenging capability directly over real messenging APIs back with huge supporting infrastructures.
Better Aggregation of Local Content: All types of real estate content like articles, podcasts, and video are already portable via RSS, but interestingly, very little local content is aggregated soecifically for use (or consumption) by other external sites. The future will see inclusion of elements of geolocation as part of an automated aggregation process. This automated geolocation process will be driven by the need to determine the proximity of content generated about one location to content generated about another. You are likely thinking this can be done on Google maps but google maps isn’t innately portable.
Better Portability And Integration of Local Content: So, how can we make the hyperlocal portable so that everyone can share photos, podcasts, articles, interviews, and videos about Elm Street? Unless there has been a recent change, Google Maps is not able to generate any sort of GeoRSS feed based off of data displayed on a specific map (which would be a killer feature by the way). Without that option, the only way to make hyperlocal content portable (and not expect every content generator to be looking up latitudes and longitudes) is to wrap geolocation data around content during some sort of aggregation process. Users can then easily syndicate information for use on their own websites or blogs say from Redmond, WA along with some radius and get all of the hyperlocal information available at once from different sources without having to specify each town, street, or other feature along the way. The smaller the radius the more hyperlocal the information (say 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile from a given address for example).
More Use Of Video: It turns out that 2007 cannot yet be proclaimed as the year of “real estate video” as predicted by the soothsayers. Adoption rates and video views don’t support any such claim from the seller side or the nimbers of real estate property videos watched. But, there are a number of anecdotal indicators that usage of real estate video marketing is beginning to rise. Real estate sites have been using video for everything from property listings to self-promotion but it is the push into hyperlocal that is pushing forward videos centered on “neighborhood drivethrus” and such. We are even beginning to push in more non-standard directions as evidenced by the industry’s own Andy Warhol of real estate video.
In summary, I’ve focused on infrastructure and platform plays as being the hallmark of future adoption. Anything that requires more than zero work on the part of the site owner may face adoption hurdles unless a huge and tangible amount of benefit comes with it. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next….where do you see things going?
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