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Rich Barton CEO of Zillow Risks Certain Criticism- does it anyway…

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zillowcom-on-realtorgeniuscom.jpgOne thing is absolutely certain- I can truly respect anyone the stands behind their product, knowing the world might criticize the outcome. Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow.com risked it all by placing his own home on Zillow with a Zestimate that even he didn’t fully agree with. Facing certain criticism, the Z.E.O. did it anyway. As a Tech Celeb, he could have hidden behind privacy or any number of excuses, but he chose to stand behind his product. Whatever one wants to say about Zestimates, you certainly have to respect him. Cheers to you, it says a lot about your personal character… The home is now pending.

Read the full article by Rich Barton:

“I’m sure thousands of you have been following the saga of my attempts to sell my house in Seattle (OK, maybe not thousands, but it certainly feels that way). Even the Wall Street Journalgot involved in ribbing me, highlighting the fact that even the CEO of Zillow can’t seem to price and sell his own house with an article recently entitled, “The Boss’s Product Test.”

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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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Don’t miss the all important point. He used a realtor too. It’s not Zillow vs Realtor, it’s Realtor vs Realtor + Zillow.

    -Athol

  2. B. R.

    May 23, 2007 at 7:43 am

    No doubt, excellent point…

  3. Louis Cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    As I see it, Rich Barton had no choice but to stand by his product as accurate or inaccurate as it may be.

    Afterall Zillow has gone to great public lengths to convince people that somehow their web site can accurately value homes for sale. Zillow has gone as far as claiming that they are the “Kelly’s blue book of homevaluations” (a foolish analogy as cars are fungible depreciating assets while home are unique and generally appreciating assets)

    Zillow lives on hype and having Barton’s home for sale on Zillow is just another example of it.

    Zillow is doing nothing new or innovative by providing their “Zestimates” based on publically available data. HomeGain, the company at which I am the General Manager had an instant homevaluation tool on our site seven years ago!

    We recently relaunched our instant home valuation tool and will add upgrades to it tomorrow night.

    You can check it out at https://www.homegain.com

    Unlike Zillow, we do not claim that it will provide pinpoint accuracy but rather an estimate (a real word, not a sale pitch).

    HomeGain also provides a range instead of an exact number to drive home the point.

    For some real differences between HomeGain and Zillow see blog thread “Why HomeGain Beats Zillow” at https://www.futureofrealestatemarketing.com/why-homegain-beats-zillow

  4. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    So just how accurate is the HomeGain AVM then? How close to actual sales prices does it get?

    Which AVM gets closest to actual sales figures?

    -Athol

  5. louis cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    It depends. Both HomeGain and Zillow use publically available information to come up with their estimates.

    The difference is that HomeGain believes that Realtors play an important role in not only assessing how much your home is worth but going out and actually getting that value for you.

    For that reason, HomeGain’s Homevalation tool does not strive to give an exact valuation – we provide a range- as we believe that its nearly impossible to provide such precise valuations.

    A house is only worth what you can get for it and a Realtor helps you get your price. Trying to value homes precisely through market data is not the same as the minute by minute market values provided by Nasdaq with respect to heavily traded stocks.

    Because of the transparency of the stock market you don’t need a stock broker to get you a better deal on Yahoo or Microsoft stock.

    But often to get the best deal on your home you need a Realtor.

    HomeGain’s service is designed to help consumers who are interested in working with Realtors find one.
    But why not do a side by side comparision of Homegain and Zillow? (just for fun) https://www.homegain.com

  6. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Oh I’m tempted to side by side them believe me.

    I’m a newer agent and my split isn’t that great just yet, so I’m kind of concerned that your 30% on my gross commission will eat 80% of my profit though. At least the money gets removed from me at the sale rather than with that HouseValues monthly [not my blog so not using this word].

    I think I’d have to do 4.5 times the volume to break even with what I make now. That sounds drastic I know, but I’m crunching the numbers to see how that affects earnings over the long run.

    Assuming HomeGain can actually supply me with leads that actually result in a transaction, I’d view these transactions as a strategy of nothing but break even sales in order to seek market share, a higher split and a higher profile.

    On the other hand, the average home price in my town is just over $200,000. I figure HomeGain’s slice would be $1800 on a 6% commission. I could get 180,000 Zillow impressions for that much. Basically have my face on every Zillow viewed page in my area for the next 12 months.

    Please advise.

  7. louis cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Sock puppet. Sounds like our agent evaluator program may not be for you.

    We have other products that may suit your needs.

    Our buyerlink product allows you to pay per visitor to your own web site on a cost per visit basis.

    Our Source For Seller product allow you to be the featured agent on each hval we deliver and to receive some leads, emails and phone calls from the exposure.

    Try this for a complete description of all our products
    https://www.homegain.com/agent/realestateagent?ht=hp_rnav_agent_enter

    If you have further questions, let’s take this discussion of this thread. You can email me at louis@homegain.com

  8. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Um all those pages seem to do is ask for my personal information.

    If I’m to have my name and face beside the AVM, I kind of need to know how accurate it is…

    If people are looking for a realtor online, can’t they just Google search for one? I’m so confused why you charge 30% of a gross commission to get someone introduced to a realtor.

    -Athol

  9. Louis Cammarosano

    May 24, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Hi Athol

    I’d love to answer your questions here, but this is a blog about Rich Barton and Zestimates and we need to respect the topic.

    Please contact me and I can give you more information about HomeGain’s products.
    Regards
    Louis

  10. HomeGain Hype

    October 22, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Why is Louis Cammarosano so hell bent on attacking Zillow every chance he gets? He is always disparaging the Zillow tool yet he trumpets his own tool on HomeGain which is even more inaccurate than Zillow’s. I think it is just a bad case of envy because of the attention Zillow is garnering. BTW anyone who thinks a computer generated program can substitute the services of an appraisser or real estate agent deserves the ill-effects of their lack of common sense.

  11. Barry Preusz

    October 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I admire anyone who exhibits true character. Zillow could be a more valuable tool to consumers and Realtors if the fake FSBOs were cleaned up. Somehow a validation tool needs to be implemented to screen out the homes for sale that do not even exist.

    Barry Preusz

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Business Marketing

Google Analytics will now filter out bot traffic

(BUSINESS NEWS) Bender won’t be happy that Google Analytics will now automatically remove bot traffic from your results, but it’ll help your business.

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In the competitive, busy world of online content, Google Analytics can help businesses and online publications deliver what their audience and consumers want. Now Google is finally taking the step of filtering out bot traffic in your Google Analytics reporting. This is excellent news!

In the world of websites, online news sites, blogs, and social media, bots are the bane of our existence. In their finest form, they are the electronic equivalent of junk mail. At their worst, they can carry malicious malware and viruses to your site and computer. They can even flood the internet with unfounded rumors that can have an impact on people’s opinions–stirring the political pot or lending misleading numbers to drive unfounded rumors, such as wearing a mask is dangerous. No it’s not! Chalk that nonsense up to bots and crackpots.

For businesses that rely on Google Analytics to determine what content is not only reaching but also resonating with potential customers, filtering out the bot traffic is crucial to determining the best course of action. Bots skew the data and therefore, end up costing businesses money.

Bots set up for malicious purposes crawl the internet looking for certain information or user behaviors. Bad bots can steal copyrighted content and give it to a competitor. Having identical copies on two sites hurts your site and can dink your SEO ranking. However, good bots can seek out duplicate content and other copyright infringements, so the original content creator can report them.

However, it is important for companies and content creators to know if their content is actually reaching real live humans. To this end, Google will start filtering out bot traffic automatically. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) actually provides an International Spiders and Bots list, through which Google can more easily identify bots. They use the list and their own internal research to seek out bots in action, crawling through the internet and confusing things.

Google says the bot traffic will be automatically filtered out of the Google Analytics results–users don’t have the choice. Some may argue there is a good reason to see all of the data, including bots. Many businesses and online publications, though, will be relieved to have a much clearer vision of what content genuinely appeals to humans, to readers and potential customers. It is a welcomed advancement.

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Business Marketing

Opportunity Zones: A chance to do good

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Opportunity zones offer a chance to breathe new life into economically-distressed communities.

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opportunity zones

Opportunity Zones are a beautiful mechanism for growing communities that are struggling, but some critics have put this process in a negative light. The following is an expert’s perspective on just this topic.

Jim White, PhD is Chairman and CEO of Post Harvest Technologies, Inc. and Growers Ice Company, Inc., Founder and CEO of PHT Opportunity Fund LP, and Founder and President of JL White International, LLC. His new book is a heartfelt rallying cry for investors: Opportunity Investing: How to Revitalize Urban and Rural Communities with Opportunity Funds, launched March 31, 2020.

Dr. White holds a B.S. in civil engineering, an MBA, and a doctorate in psychology and organizational behavior. He acquires struggling businesses to revive and develop them into profitable enterprises using his business turnaround strategy.

In his own words below:

BY JIM WHITE, PHD

Every investment vehicle has a twist some folks don’t like. Real estate, stock options, offshore tax havens, and even charitable gifting can be criticized for certain loopholes.

Likewise, some detractors have pointed to opportunity zones, a newer investment vehicle unveiled in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December 2017. This bold, bipartisan plan allows for private investment capital to be channeled into some of the most distressed communities in the nation, serving the struggling residents and the investors alike.

Personally, I believe it is one of the noblest initiatives to emerge from Washington in years.

I grew up in a sharecropper cabin in what would have been an opportunity zone in Salem, South Carolina. What would an influx of investment dollars have meant to my low-income community? More and better-paying jobs to offset unemployment. People relocating to my town for those jobs, reversing population decline and increasing real estate values. New life breathed into local businesses. The increased tax revenues could have helped improve failing infrastructure. Social challenges, like crime and drug use, could have decreased. Better resources for my family and our neighbors, such as health care and education, would have emerged.

Today, there are nearly 8,800 distressed communities dotting the country that have been identified as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). These neighborhoods were designated from census tracks, treasury, and state leaders as communities that would benefit from an influx of investment dollars directed through Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) to reinvigorate businesses, rebuild infrastructure and bolster residents.

As our economy continues to falter, more and more businesses file Chapter 11 and unemployment soars under COVID-19, I believe we are heading toward a painful expansion in designated opportunity zones. Even with the latest round of CARES stimulus money many people will have no way to rebound from this crisis.

One of the unexpected consequences of the coronavirus quarantine is that many businesses are discovering that, in reality, they can succeed through working remotely. This success is a double edged sword, meaning that if a business can thrive with employees working offsite then commercial real estate will suffer. And when companies no longer require brick-and-mortar locations, a local domino effect ensues; ancillary businesses, from cafés to gyms to print shops in and around a commercial office environment will subsequently close. The ripples will be felt through many other industries, including construction, transportation, energy, and retail.

Qualified Opportunity Zones and Qualified Opportunity Funds are instruments that can help stop a downward spiral. When a sponsor is able to present a project that meets the objectives of the QOZ initiative, both the QOZ and the investors benefit. That’s a win!

And, it’s not only urban centers that benefit from investment dollars. Forty percent of opportunity zones are rural. Even with often plentiful food, water, energy and other natural resources, deep poverty exists, and too many of America’s 60 million rural residents lack access to education and healthcare. A declining population often goes hand in hand with failing infrastructure as tax money for repairs dwindles. Many households lack broadband, something the vast majority of Americans take for granted.

Despite the challenges, rural residents are often surprisingly resilient and resourceful. According to The Hill (“Rural America has opportunity zones too”), rural residents create self-employment opportunities at a slightly higher rate than the national average. Their challenge is to connect with investors and access funding, more of which is directed to small business investment on the coasts.

In fact, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t know about Qualified Opportunity Funds. If a business is located in an opportunity zone it is eligible for direct funding by reaching out to the QOFs with a specific request for funding.

More than any investment plan that’s come before, I believe opportunity zones have the greatest capacity for positive social and economic impact. Spread out over many communities, these investments can help our nation flourish as a whole.

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Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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