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Business Marketing

To Map or NOT to MAP – That is the question?

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In an age where small companies are trying to define the terms of how real estate is presented and practiced, medium to large brokerages are having to out leap the so-called deep thinkers. I remember when I became a Realtor, my idea of real estate was overshadowed by the naysayers who said that real estate cannot be changed, “it’s been this way for over 100 years.” Looking around at the industry on a horizon where all things are flat, they were right. Grab your print marketing dollars and go to town. Today, Realtors are faced with the choice- take a chance on big Internet marketing, mix the two or just go technology? I, for one, laugh every time I get a flyer on my door, but that does not make it irrelevant in the sense that it doesn’t work, ever.

This brings me to my fundamental issue of the moment, which is- do you bother to introduce IDX mapping to your online presence or go the way of the traditional bluehair and leave the static IDX image in tact? What do or will consumers want in the long run? I do believe that all buyers really want is an address and pictures, but in a world where Texas is touted as receiving 400,000 relos a year, we have to look at providing the larger picture for the buyer- they need to know what it means to be on XYZ St. Austin Tx, 78XXX.

I’ve spent the better part of 3 weeks looking at every end of mapping technology and was pleased to learn that a large cap investment isn’t necessary. IDX mapping is out there for all to see and purchase for their sites. I brought one of the sites online to test and try out, and as a nice pleasantry, they even waived the setup fee of $199.00. I completely give credit that the service is more flexible than other offerings in the market place, however, the look and feel of it answers to a bluehair’s idea of what modern technology looks like but ignores what those in the know are looking for. I did find a more packaged look from another company and we are in the process of conforming it. Meanwhile, I had to let the existing company know that I was going a different direction. That led to him asking me why I was leaving, to which I responded with the following:

There are 11 different idx map integration offerings in the market place that I’ve found but only two have a packaged interface that feels and looks more like google, yahoo, or msve- not to mention the countless other platforms such as zooven, and others that will be marching into our market place in the coming year. We either look like them, or loose market share to them. I’ll be watching your product over the coming months to see what if anything is improved, but for now, I have to go with what is the closest thing to a national look.

I went on to explain that I had called a few times with little success in reaching them for help in getting on the same page with no luck. Jeff replied with the following:

I will tell you that of the thousands of customers we have, the most prolific ones, do not use any mapping what so ever. As a matter of fact, they refuse to use it. The other 98% of our customers talk about “mapping” until they are blue in the face. And they are the ones who have very little traffic to their sites. And also do very little business. In my opinion, the whole mapping thing is horribly overstated. I base this opinion purely on the activity of our top customers sites.

The question is- is 98% of his base wrong, and the 2% correct? Are you saying that 98% of the market doesn’t drag down the 2% holdout total market share? Is a company who is totally focused on IDX integration saying that mapping integration is stupid? 98% of those who want mapping are either stupid or small potatoes?

Jeff with IDX Broker is actually a really nice guy, but I look at companies like Zillow, Google, Yahoo, Zooven and can see how these large companies will (in the long run) pick apart the market share of medium to small brokerages, and even some large ones. Think about it… the point of providing an online source for every need is to keep them coming to you again and again and then buy or sell. In Jeff’s world, the market share begins at purchase, not at online service, and if you want to cover all bases with great interactive options for buyers and sellers, you’re just stupid and the world is flat.

I digress in that I do not believe a search map on the front page being everything you offer is the way to go. I am simply trying to bring IDX Resale Searching back to the forefront in my market in a way that looks as fresh as an online non-realtor site. Is 98% now the minority?

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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. john harper

    July 7, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Let me know your final choice of products. I like the analysis and questioning. I don’t see a link on your blog to your main site.

    I’m not sure I can buy Jeff’s comment – sounds like something a salesperson would throw out.

  2. Marty Van Diest

    July 8, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Just stopped by to read your post for carnival of real estate.

    I don’t have mapping on my site…guess I better step up.

    Huh? I don’t even have IDX on my site. Bettey get some blue hair dye.

  3. B. R.

    July 8, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Marty! You have a blog and you’re hosting the carnival! Hold up on that dye!

    Honestly, idx has been secondary on my site as well as the look and feel of it really leaves a lot to be desired. The point of all of this is is outsiders have reinvented it and made it “neato.” So why not provide it ourselves if technology allows…

    Thanks for coming by!

  4. Heinrich

    August 7, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Hey Realty Genius,
    Genius Realty here… We’ve had our mapping tool up for about two years now and it is home grown. Give it a run. It even uses Ajax at the beginning of the search. Let us know what you think of it.

  5. B. R.

    August 7, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    I checked out your site and your map search function- I searched all of Boise 3/2 200k to 300k as a simple test (this is the same test I run on all search sites) and it choked. My suggestion is limit results to 150 as a start and give searchers the option to load the full boat with a warning.

    It isn’t just your map product that does that, most of them do with mixed results. Either pictures do not load, the map is too congested w/ indicators, or the wait ends up frustrating those who are searching.

    All in all I liked your site and your search results. Nice clean lay out, clean interface, great spacing between results in lists. I liked the truck, great branding, nice logo and appeal.

    Cheers.

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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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