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Posts tagged ‘web 2.0’

A Bold Statement

Local Upstart REALTOR® Prospecting Site Thinks it has what it takes to rival MLS.ca

MLS.ca. Canada’s nationwide MLS. Every MLS listing, coast-to-coast. It’s practically a cultural institution, and millions of people use it to peek at their neighbour’s decorating scheme, or to view photos of houses before a military house-hunting trip in Halifax.

I received an e-mail last week (unsolicited, I might add) from a company calling itself CompatibleAgent.com, which contained a link to a video about their service. In a nutshell, it’s a searchable database and referral service for members of the public who are looking for an agent. They fill in a form, and are “matched” (read: referred as a lead) to an agent that is, well, compatible.

I received another e-mail today (again, unsolicited) which contained an incredibly bold (and misleading, I think) statement:

For those of you who have sent us feedback we thank you, and its obvious that Realtors believe this is a great idea…but the biggest concern you all have is a good one, and that is paying for advertising that is brand new, not yet established and that has an un-certain future. We do understand this and don’t blame Realtors for having this concern, therefore we as a company want to prove to you that CompatibleAgent.com is here to stay, that it is going to be a huge benefit to its members business and that we promise that we will be as widely used as MLS.ca within 1 year.

Wow. That’s ambitious. Here’s why I am skeptical: Alexa.com, which ranks Internet traffic, scores MLS.ca as the 78th most-visited Internet site in Canada. This puts it above The Globe and Mail, Workopolis, Bank Of Montreal, and slightly below 2 other banking websites. MLS.ca is the first result returned on Google.ca for Real Estate. CompatibleAgent.com purports they’ll accomplish this lofty goal through an extensive national TV, radio and print advertising campaign starting in June, making it a “household name.” I wonder if they researched this claim at all.

Even though they’ve slashed the price to join the service, I think I’ll wait and see. Show me some proof of your claim, and I’ll sign a 10-year contract!

Tim Ayres


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Royal LePage TV Launches – Canadian Real Estate 2.0

Free online videos offer buying and selling tips, staging advice, and more.

Canada’s premier source for real estate information, Royal LePage, has launched a brand new website, www.royallepagetv.ca, where you can view a series of informative videos on how to sell or how to buy real estate. Specifically, the videos point out how the use of a Royal LePage Agent makes selling or buying your greatest financial asset a lot easier.

This is a first for a Canadian real estate company. Many companies in the U.S. have already embraced the idea of Web 2.0 and real estate while we have not gone so far. Royal LePage has always been an industry leader in providing top-quality high tech selling and marketing tools for its agents. I have uploaded the videos to YouTube for embedding into web pages and blogs.

Here is the first episode of the selling series:

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=in4dc9dr43k">http://youtube.com/watch?v=in4dc9dr43k</a>

See my YouTube Channel for the rest of the videos.

Tim Ayres

What is Web 2.0? [VIDEO]

Furthering our discussion on Web 2.0, this short video helps explain a little more as to what the buzz-word is all about.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=0LzQIUANnHc">http://youtube.com/watch?v=0LzQIUANnHc</a>

Some of this may seem abstract, and the end of the video relates more to software and application developers, but the basic concept is good, and this video gives you a good idea on how the Web has changed and what is the future of the Internet.

If Web 2.0 is engaging users (people), then it should not take too much of a semantic leap to make the connection to our profession. The bar has been raised as to the type of content the user wants to see. It won’t be sufficient any longer for you to post a static, boring listing. Users will want the ability to interact with your content – comment on your listings, post reviews of your services, pose questions on your forum, upload pictures of their neighbourhoods, or provide other users with objective advice on your content and your professional services.

Please comment and discuss!

Tim 

Victoria Real Estate Board Releases StrataDocs Online

This is probably the biggest news since WebForms™ was introduced a few years ago. Remember how that made your life so much easier?

First, the official news release from the Board:

New StrataDocs Online Service for REALTORS®

Helps Buyers of Strata Units

The Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) has introduced a new online service for its REALTOR® members called StrataDocs Online that will make it much easier for buyers of strata units to obtain important documents.

Under the system, REALTORS® can obtain online all the required documentation buyers need when purchasing a strata unit, such as copies of the strata bylaws and minutes of meetings. REALTORS® can then email these documents directly to buyers, saving considerable time and effort. Previously, REALTORS® had to request the documents from the strata council, or property management company, and wait for photocopies to be made. The program also allows strata unit owners access to their documents at no charge.

VREB President, Bev McIvor, says StrataDocs Online is a first for British Columbia, “We are the first Board in the province to have introduced this program which was developed for us locally. We’ve launched the programme with three condominium buildings online and are now working closely with property management companies to get many more buildings included in the system.” McIvor added that the property management companies will be responsible for ensuring that all relevant documentation is available on the system and is kept up to date. “We invite property management firms and independently managed stratas to contact us to learn more about how they can participate in this new program.”

McIvor noted that other real estate boards in the province have expressed considerable interest in working with the VREB to implement a similar program in their respective areas.

Why is this such big news? Well, as the release says, once more buildings and property managers are on board, you won’t have to wait the sometimes agonizing wait for documents. With the exception of a Form B Information Certificate, you will be able to have everything ready for a potential buyer on a moment’s notice. You’ll have a permanent, electronic copy that you can keep for the next time you have a unit in the complex (think of marketing yourself as a “building expert”). You can forward them via e-mail to an out-of-town buyer. Or, forward them to your internet fax (see my earlier post) and away they go via fax, anywhere in the world, without you wasting any paper.

And the best part? It doesn’t cost you a cent more. You’re still paying for the documents from the strata management company, but no premium for the StrataDocs service. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

This technology was developed in-house at the Victoria Real Estate Board and has been a couple of years in the making. You may remember having the opportunity to demo the system at the VREB Tech Fair last November. The implications of this being a proprietary software are huge, too. The Board could license the tech to other real estate boards in other markets in exchange for a license or subscription fee. It could be a great source of income for the board and could reduce our fees.

The Board is recognized industry-wide for being an innovator in the technological arena and it’s no surprise that they’ve developed a sure winner with StrataDocs Online.

Web 2.0: The Future Of Real Estate

Of course we all know that the Internet revolutionized real estate.

Well, the Internet has evolved. Have you?

I would say that most agents in our local area have a Web site. Most recognize it as a marketing tool: a way to get their listing information out there and – if they have the functionality – to recruit buyers through an MLS® access portal.

This is what most Internet experts would call Web 1.0. As the Internet has grown up, users now expect more, and this is where Web 2.0 comes in.

Web 2.0

For some, it’s just a buzz-word. There isn’t a recognized standard as to what Web 2.0 actually is. It’s more of an idea, a methodology, than a technological standard or software version. But in reality, Web 2.0 is here to stay and is changing the way people make money on line and in the real world.

The major difference between Web 2.0 and the old way of doing things is the bilateral communication methods that have become so popular in recent years. Whereas in the past, Web sites would largely be static pages, very much not unlike a page in a book – once written, never changing and certainly not involving any interaction between publisher and user or reader. Web 2.0 encourages 2-way communication between page writers and page readers. This blog, for example, has a commenting function that can engage the reader and promote conversation by allowing a reader to comment on the articles or argue with the writer (or in fact, a previous commenter).

Some of the most popular Web sites out there today are Web 2.0. Who hasn’t heard of YouTube, or MySpace or Facebook? The rise of social networking, chat, internet video, podcasting, blogging, wikis, and other user generated or user-discussed content defines Web 2.0.

What does this mean to you? Well, take a look at your website – is it Web 2.0 or not? I would say most are not. This is not something we’ve caught on to as much in our market area. My website, www.sellingsooke.ca, is somewhat web 2.0. It has a blog, which is probably one of the most important parts of a site these days. I’ll explain that in another article. It has an interactive aspect to it – users can chat with me when I’m online via a free service called Meebo. I work hard to make sure the content on my site is relevant and fresh. This is huge, in a market where upwards of 80-90% of customers will start the search for real estate on line. Have a static, boring, page that never changes – the users come, they go. Have a rich, interactive page with constantly updated content and a means for notifying users of updates – you’ve gained a regular customer that will come to you first when they need advice. It’s an ever-increasing way to stay top-of-mind with your buyers and sellers.

This post has kind of gotten lengthy, so I’ll cut it off here, and go in depth on some of the topics in subsequent posts.

For more information on Web 2.0 and what it’s all about, check out the Wikipedia (another Web 2.0 phenomenon) article on it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0.

-Tim