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Google + Maps + Real Estate Search = No IDX Required



Real Bird Map Based SearchThere are three things I really love; maps, Google and real estate, so when you combine all three in a super-easy-to-use marketing tool and customer resource, you couldn’t make me much happier than RealBird did when they rolled out their map-based property search this week as part of their insanely affordable Pro-Member benefit package (read the Press Release).  The search pulls from Google Base, so your options are expanded beyond what you can get from your local IDX.  You can created unlimited searches to embed into blogs, post on Craigslist and Backpage, post on your blog or website, etc. in several different formats, from full page to tiny widgets, it’s your choice.  As far as I know, RealBird is the only provider of customizable Google Base fed property searches.


Some Ideas for Using RealBird’s Map Based Property Search:

  • You can really target long-tail keywords by embedding a map of listings into your community blog posts.
  • You can use the keyword search in the RealBird search to hone on on specific property characteristics (ie equestrian, gated, lakefront, etc.) to provide specialty niche searches
  • You can create targeted searches (ie city and price point) then post those searches on Craigslist, Backpage and Kiiji (this works VERY WELL)
  • You can have a specialty site, like Susie Blackmon does at and post searches across the whole country and then build a referral business from those leads that you receive  (I am personally convinced that you can build an entire referral business just using this tool alone, right from your home office and a $99 Pro Membership)
  • Easy to use embedded social media shareability

You are limited only in your creativity in how you use this map based search.

Special Extra Features:

  • The search pulls from Google Street Views and even Google Earth, so where available the consumer will get an street view as one of the main images of the property.  This allows them to look at the property (especially helpful when no pictures are posted) as well as up and down the street to get a view of the neighborhood.
  • The viewer can click on list view in one stroke and have the list embedded right in the map (Genius)
  • The viewer, once on the map, can then change the criteria, should they prefer other search parameters
  • The user interface is very easy and intuitive so you don’t worry about the user becoming confused and clicking off site
  • The search is very fast
  • It is SEO friendly, especially for long-tail hyper local searches (even the Craigslist posting titles have been indexed when I post links to my RB searches)


The data is pulled from Google Base so there are pros and cons of using a Google Base search over an IDX search. Use it instead of your IDX search, in conjunction with it (depending on use) or use it where IDX is not available.  RealBird has a built-in disclaimer on your site notifying the viewer that data is from Google Base, so you don’t need to worry about adding that.  The search shows where the data came from, but the contact information for more information is yours.

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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  1. Judson Tate

    February 10, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Can’t wait to try this out! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      If you spend some time playing around and just thinking outside the box, I bet you will think of 5-10 great and unique lead generation uses for this tool

  2. Aaron Charlton

    February 10, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Thank you. This looks like a great product. Can’t wait to check it out!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm


      I am RealBird’s biggest cheerleader, the tools they provide Realtors are so amazing and so affordable, when they added this, my head almost popped off, I was so excited!

      • Aaron Charlton

        February 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm

        I added it to my site and I really like it! A tip they gave me is to add &newwindow=0 to the end of the RealBird link in the src=”” attribute of the iframe code so that it doesn’t open a new window and people stay on my site. Thanks for letting us know about this stuff!

  3. Justin Boland

    February 10, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    This was an awesome post, thank you. Being able to actually play with this software = a ton of tun and very thought-provoking. Coolest thing I’ve seen on Agent Genius in awhile!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      I am glad you like the post Justin and even more glad that you “get it” about how you can play with this software and how expandable it really is. Sort of like silly putty, you can pull it stretch it and it doesn’t break. Thank you for your nice compliment!

  4. Bruce Dietz

    February 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for the info. I am a huge fan of new technology. I will definitely check out RealBird.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

      I think you will really love it, it is one of the best and multi-faceted agent promotion tools available, lots of options to build business

  5. Heather

    February 11, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Hello! Is this a free service (with ads)? It looks like a very good idea.
    Thanks for the info!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 9:38 am

      yes, pretty amazing stuff (although some features are only with the Pro Account, but even at $99/yr that is an amazing value) Max out the Free then bump to the Pro if you decide it is worth it (which I really think it is, but each person has their own favorite programs)

  6. aj martin

    February 11, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Janie does it again – thanks for sharing your expertise.

  7. Jacob Clayton

    February 11, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Hi Janie –

    Very interesting development from RealBird, thanks for a great post!

    It looks as if this solution is fantastic for uses you describe like embedding into blogs and facebook, etc, but I’m wondering if you’ve played around with any features to “wrap” this into an existing website like is possible with the more expensive options such as Diverse Solutions or IDX Broker. They offer similar lead generation options and you don’t even have to deal with the dreaded frame-in but there is of course a real difference in price. The other downside to other IDX solutions is they, and as a result, we are limited to using the fields that the MLS allows us to use. The MLSPIN in Massachusetts, for example, does not allow us to display property descriptions on our websites but they do aggregate that field to Google,, Truila, and on and on and on. (That’s a rant for another day) but this would definitely provide a way around it!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 10:07 am

      Hi Jacob,

      This will the the search feature of my new blog, which is due to come out in March (and will replace my current IDX site and my RealBird blog). There are definitely aspects which make IDX or Google better for different applications, but for the blog I am building, this is perfect. Right now, registration is not mandatory as it is with other lead generation sites, so if you are looking for that option, they do not have it yet (I don’t believe). Some agents prefer no registration and some wouldn’t have a search without it. It all depends. I think that Google using this data is going to force the MLSs to change how they do businesses (for the better) no matter what. Keep an eye out for my new blog next month.

      Thx for stopping by

  8. Jacob Clayton

    February 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for the heads up, Janie and I am very interested to see how you put it all to use. I built my blog and website together as a sort of a one stop show so a solution that works with both, without MLS restrictions, and WITH GOOGLE! is a win win win!

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

      the site is, check back in March, just waiting on graphics at this point. I think you will really like how we used this map tool to target buyers in a friendly way

  9. Patrick

    February 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Very Cool…See ya later clunky MLS/IDX feed! You know, our Northwest MLS charges each individual agent $30.00/a month for their IDX feed on top of the MLS dues they already pay…RealBird has put every MLS on notice!!! Thank you for this post.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      OMG, I didn’t know that they charged for IDX! That is crazy, although our fees are so high that they must have just included it in there. I hope you try it out and find it useful.

  10. Bill Edwards

    February 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Not much to this. You people should be using VOW data.

    Buyers want all the info. Not this. Check out what really works at

    The Dept of Justice settlement with the NAR allows this incredible data for buyers.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      thank you Bill, I have not heard of that resource. I will go check out now. Thx for stopping by!

  11. IDX pro

    February 12, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Not according Morgan Carey…..

    Apparently he says you can get your lic pulled as if MLS/Realtor’s were the ones who issue Real Estate License’s

    Looks like he’s scared of losing paying customers to info they can be getting for free!

  12. Bob

    February 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Google Base is no where near comprehensive enough with the listing data they have. Why doesnt RealBird use RETS from the local mls?

    • Janie Coffey

      February 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Hi Bob, definitely there is a big difference b/w Google Base content and MLS driven content. A Google Base alternative might be useful for agents whose board doesn’t allow distribution of their data in any form or who work with buyers (or referrals) outside their MLS or other uses. Realbird does have MLS/IDX driven options for quite a few MLSs all over the country, but not for all of them. The Google Base helps fill in the holes when and where agents run across them or are looking for other alternatives…. (We have a Google Base site and an IDX site and use them for different purposes). It will be interesting to see how the MLS/Google Base saga continues….

  13. Ken Brand

    February 13, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    I’ve had my finger on the trigger for some time. Wasn’t sure when to pull it or what to aim at, I knew I needed a “search” for my blog. Then, you appear and share my solution. Thanks Janie, I have it up and working for me…sweet n simple. Super cool. Cheers to you.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 14, 2010 at 9:19 am

      Thanks Ken, I am glad you liked it and found a solution that worked for you!

  14. Paula Henry

    February 14, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Janie – RealBird does have some great features, but the data is lacking when compared to the actual MLS data. The info doesn’t get updated and expired listings continue to show up. But it looks nice and I love the embed feature.

    • Janie Coffey

      February 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

      Paula, for sure there are differences and pros and cons and the timeliness of the Goolgle Base data. Some agents don’t have access to MLS data for their own sites due to the broker or the board so this is an option for them. Or for agents who want to provide info outside of their board, this is also a great option. I definitely love the customization and embed feature 😉

  15. Andrew Mooers

    September 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Information on current property listings available, about the local communities are what real estate buyers want delivered quickly, completely. Don’t do it as an agent, broker, REALTOR and the buyer who is not local anymore will get it from someone else that answers, addresses that thirst, hunger.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…



Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.



offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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Business Marketing

What you can learn from Ulta Beauty’s marketing mix up with Kate Spade

(MARKETING) Ulta Beauty’s insensitive marketing email surrounding the Kate Spade brand can be a lesson: Be cautious and respond to crisis appropriately.



Woman typing on computer representing the Ulta Beauty and Kate Spade email scandal

Last week in an email sent to subscribers, Ulta Beauty made light of designer Kate Spade’s suicide. Ulta said the lighthearted connection to Spade’s death was unintentional. The email sparked anger across social media and some national news outlets picked up the story. In an emailed response to the New York Post, Ulta apologized to their customers, their Kate Spade corporate partners, and Kate Spade’s family. They ended by saying they will strive to do better.

Words matter. Messaging matters. Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from this painful mistake.

Check your tone. It’s one of the early things we teach writing students. The tone should match the content. If the icon you’re using to sell a product ended their own life, perhaps light and fun isn’t the tone you should embrace. Ever. But most businesses won’t be dealing with well-known people whose stories have been shared with millions. It’s up to business owners and those who write their copy to ensure the tone matches the message.

Always have a second pair of eyes look over words going out to the public. Or even a third and fourth. Often those in the creative room are brainstorming messages, reworking copy, and looking for the perfect pitch. And they get it. It sounds good, looks good, is easy to say and share, and, best of all, it will lead to sales. Having a multi-person system in place to check the copy and someone separate to give final approval can help catch the oh-my-God-no great words, but absolutely not pieces of sales copy.

Listen to your customer base and have a system in place to listen quickly. All businesses need systems for immediate customer response in play. Ulta caught their so-called oversight quickly.  But they’re a huge brand and Kate Spade was a beloved fashion icon. The negative response went viral and they had a giant mess to clean up. Companies make messes with their words often, messes that don’t immediately go viral but lead to real pain for consumers. When customers ask you to stop a message, listen to them and act.

Apologies don’t make excuses. If you’re caught in a messaging mess of your own making, I’m sorry goes a long way. If needed, follow that apology up with a plan to show you’re serious about “doing better” and making sure this never happens again.

If you find yourself in a place where a public apology is necessary, consider hiring a crisis manager to help with that plan as well.

Part of business today is constant communication with consumers. Try to have systems in place so you don’t find yourself in a “learning to do better” moment like Ulta. Words aren’t just about sales. They have power. Remember that.

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