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Is Redfin.com a True Web2.o Experience?

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018-04.jpgWell, I would surmise by my own appraisal of Redfin.com that you can easily do more than Redfin is doing, and probably are already. With the transparency debate exposed all over the blogosphere, I look at Redfin and wonder, where exactly is the transparency?  They’re counting on momentum from sensationalism, name recognition and a liberal cause to carry them forward, and any business head knows that will only go so far. What any 2.o service based industry must provide is information and Redfin offers none.  It does offer a 13 step pdf on the how they work and the basic steps to their process, but there’s no meat in it that would teach a buyer or seller, only information to pacify a consumer and a lot more of the “why we’re better” mixed in.

Look at their website https://www.redfin.com, on the main page you get the infamous map.  I personally think it is pretty neat- you can make an offer, you can save your searches, you can even talk to an agent- great! What is so new about that?  This functionality has been around for years.  There must be something more! Click on Buyers and what do you get? Tons of information on how to buy a home? NO! Click on Sellers and you get more of the same nothingjust more clean 2.o white space. It lacks the Why? What? When? How? All of that is missing on Redfin.com; why?  They’re not a teaching company, they’re a profit company just like any other major corporation. The only difference being that they aren’t profitable– not in the slightest. What would happen if they actually gave the consumers the transparency they preached?  Consumers would actually take the knowledge and cut Redfin.com out all together because Redfin offers the same Where? that most Realtors already offer freely.

As Web2.o sites go, Redfin.com falls flat and appears guilty of their own arguments against the status quo. The only information a consumer will get on Redfin.com is about Redfin- they just cannot stop their verbal diarrhea about themselves. Realtor Non-2.o sites in general offer more in their informational teases than you’ll get on Redfin.com.

Now, I do not like to point out a bunch of negatives and not offer any positives- Redfin.com is definitely web2.o looking, and feeling; you can search homes, they do a decent job of marketing homes in their local areas via their blog, but they always end up talking about their most favorite subject-themselves. But there’s just no heart or soul on the redfin.com site itself with the only exception being the picture of the random agent on each page. It is just another search site that actually charges thousands of dollars. You could do that on almost any Realtors site and never once talk to the agent, learn how to buy and even sell on some sites, and never spend a single penny. If you listen to those who proclaim Redfin as the end all be all, even they say they can write their own contracts- what does Redfin really do that is any different that has not already been done-to death? Not much.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing really 2.o about redfin.com under the surface- as it completely lacks in the social networking department. A blog, and the Sweet Digs idea are not really innovating the industry any further than it was. 

Now, if you really want to give consumers what Web2.o is really about- Realtors, if you really want to know what Web2.o really looks like- Realtors, if you really want a constructive model of how to orchestrate your own site- try this . I am by no means saying you should or should not finance Zillow by advertising with them, nor am I saying a Zestimate is good or bad. What I am saying is you can have a Web2.o looking and sounding site all day long, but if you’re missing the information and social networking element- you’re missing the point altogether. Zillow.com IS real estate 2.o- too bad they didn’t trademark it.

Web2.o nutshell:

  • Information & lots of it
  • Look & Feel (green is the new gray, lots of clean open white space)
  • Social Networking
  • Easily Relatable Professional Copy
  • Free (as in there’s no need to give up anything including your personal information)

Again, as a closing note, this is not about commissions or whether I like Redfin or not- honestly, I really don’t care. What I am looking for (as are all Realtors) is the way forward. Redfin.com isn’t it- but it is  a start.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. David G from Zillow.

    June 13, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Love the new look to this blog! What a difference a little white space makes.

    My favorite web2 definition is the simple title Richard McManus chose for his blog namely; “read /write web”. Web 1 was the internet everyone could read. Web 2 is the internet everyone can write.

  2. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Awesome point- I absolutely agree. It is very hard to explain to folks that they really need to knock the dust off of their old 1.o and let the folks add the content. That is what makes Zillows Guide so up to speed

    Thanks for the notice, David.

  3. Sock Puppet

    June 13, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Much better. Looks too wide across the screen in IE7 though.

    -Athol

  4. John Lockwood

    June 13, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Way more better design. Looks awesome. The brain’s cool too, but if you could stand a suggestion, just a little more bright blue highlights if possible.

  5. Alex Mather

    June 13, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    i agree, but has anyone really said that Redfin is web 2.0? i’ve personally never grouped them with Trulia or Zillow outside of the context of being disruptive, well-funded companies trying to change real estate.

    disruptive != web 2.0.

    i’ve always felt they were simply a traditional company exploiting the fact that a lot of us geeky young’ns are willing to do a lot of the work on our own (using the Internets) to save some money.

  6. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Alex, thanks for stopping by, great blog btw… I promise to spend time over there tomorrow.

    Yes, they TMd realestate2.o, the shell is 2.o, and new to 2.oers are looking for the direction to take their sites. They aren’t like zillow, but why not? they argue transparency, that puts them in the running.

  7. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    read here on the touchy trademark issue:
    https://realestate20.wordpress.com/2006/09/18/cease-and-desist/

  8. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    John, kiss my brain 😛

  9. Alex Mather

    June 13, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    B.R.

    thanks for the kind words, i look forward to your feedback on my blog!

    wow – i actually read that 2.0 blog back when it was written and for some reason I attributed the C&D to Zillow. Oops.

    Trademarks are silly. Do they really think that, alone, they can create Real Estate 2.0? It reminds me of Ze Frank’s brilliant ‘waves’ episode:

    https://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2007/02/020507.html

    More on this on my blog tomorrow!

  10. John Lockwood

    June 13, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Now, now, let’s not have any cerebral innuendo or asexual harassment here… 🙂

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.

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Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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